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GM's Self-Driving Division Cruise Plans to Double in Size by Year End

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【Summary】Cruise Automation​, the San-Francisco startup acquired by General Motors in 2016, has plans to double in size this year. To help with its expansion, the self-driving arm of GM hired Arden Hoffman, who previously worked at file-hosting company Dropbox and helped guide the company to its 2018 IPO.

FutureCar Staff    Mar 11, 2019 7:05 PM PT
GM's Self-Driving Division Cruise Plans to Double in Size by Year End
A self-driving Chevy Bolt EV operated by Cruise driving in San Francisco.

Cruise Automation, the San-Francisco startup acquired by General Motors in 2016, has plans to double in size this year. To help with its expansion, the self-driving arm of GM hired Arden Hoffman, who previously worked at file-hosting company Dropbox and helped guide the company to its 2018 IPO. Hoffman also worked at Google and Goldman Sachs.

"Arden has made a huge impact on Dropbox over the last four years," a Dropbox spokesperson said to Business Insider.

"She helped build and scale our team and culture to the over 2,300 person company we are today, and we'll miss her leadership, determination, and sense of humor. While we're sorry to see her go, we're excited for her and wish her all the best in this new opportunity to grow the team at Cruise."

To prepare for its expansion, Cruise is moving into a new office in San Francisco, where it will share space with DropBox.

Cruise and GM are currently testing a fleet of self-driving Chevy Bolt EVs in San Francisco. Each vehicle is equipped with a suite of autonomous driving hardware and software developed by Cruise.

Cruise currently employs around 1,000 people. GM acquired Cruise when it was just a budding startup, for $1 billion as a way to jumpstart its own autonomous driving development. Cruise was one of the first autonomous driving startups snatched up by a global automaker.

Following recent investments from Japan's SoftBank and Honda, as well as another $1 billion from GM, Cruise's value has ballooned to $14.6 billion.

Cruise will have some formidable competition in the self-driving car space, mainly from Waymo. Waymo was spun out of Google's early self-driving car program into a separate division under parent company Alphabet. Waymo, like Cruise, is planning to launch a commercial ride-hailing service using a fleet of self-driving vehicles developed in-house.

The Ford Motor Co is also working with a tech startup on autonomous driving technology. In 2017, Ford announced a $1 billion investment over five years in ArgoAI, a Pittsburgh-based robotics startup. German automaker Volkswagen is also investing in the venture.

If Cruise successfully launches a commercial ride-hailing service, it will likely be in San Francisco first, where the company has been testing its fleet of vehicles for the past two years. It is also the hometown of ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft. A mobility service launched by Cruise and GM will compete directly with both companies—on their home turf.



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