NEW YORK (AFP) - General Motors (GM) is boosting its autonomous driving efforts, investing $14 million and adding 1,100 jobs
in a new research center in San Francisco.
The largest US automaker made the announcement Thursday, amid a race in the industry in autonomous vehicle research.
While GM is already testing autonomous vehicles through its Cruise Automation unit in California, Arizona and Michigan, the new initiative will ramp up those efforts.
“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,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and chief executive.
“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 the development of these technologies and the market applications.”
GM acquired Cruise Automation a year ago as part of its efforts to accelerate development of self-driving vehicle technology.
Similar research is being carried out by other automakers including Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, and by other groups including Uber and Google parent Alphabet.
Chinese tech giant Baidu, which is working on autonomous driving at its California research center, this week announced the acquisition of xPerception, a US startup that provides visual perception software, along with services and devices for people who are visually impaired.