General Motors said it will add 1,100 jobs over the next five years and invest more than $14 million in a new research and development facility for its San Francisco-based self-driving technology company.
The investment will more than double Cruise Automation's research and development space in San Francisco, GM said in a news release.
“Expanding our team at Cruise Automation and linking them with our global engineering talent is another important step in our work to redefine the future of personal mobility,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in the release. “Self-driving technology holds enormous benefits to society in the form of increased safety and access to transportation. Running our autonomous vehicle program as a start-up is giving us the speed we need to continue to stay at the forefront of development of these technologies and the market applications.”
California's Office of Business and Economic Development is providing an $8-million tax credit for the project. The release said Cruise Automation would move into the new space in San Francisco by the end of the year. A GM spokesman said the facility is a refurbished brownfield that the company is leasing.
Kyle Vogt, Cruise Automation's CEO, said that “as autonomous car technology matures, our company's talent needs will continue to increase. Accessing the world-class talent pool that the San Francisco Bay Area offers is one of the many reasons we plan to grow our presence in the state.”
GM, which acquired Cruise Automation for $581 million last year, said it bought the company to strengthen its "software development capabilities and accelerate development of self-driving vehicle technology." The start-up specializes in the software needed to operate self-driving cars.
GM Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said recently that GM expects to sink about $150 million per quarter, or $600 million this year, into autonomous vehicle development.
Cruise Automation and GM engineers are testing more than 50 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles with self-driving technology on public roads in metro Detroit, San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz., the release said.