Just four months ago we announced that SoftBank agreed to invest $2.25 billion in Cruise. Today we’re announcing that Honda is also joining the party. They’re bringing chips, dip, and $2.75 billion.
Perhaps most importantly, Honda will work with Cruise and GM to develop an innovative, space-efficient autonomous vehicle that delivers an exceptional experience and minimizes congestion on crowded city streets. Sharing our technology with a partner beyond our immediate GM family is the right move for our customers and their communities. It’s also the right move for Honda and accelerates our mission to bring self driving cars to as many people as possible.
A rule of thumb in the auto industry is that a new production vehicle takes four years and about a billion dollars to design and bring to market. That’s assuming you have an existing assembly plant (if not, add another billion dollars) and an experienced team ready to spring into action. Most companies don’t, so it takes much longer. The many-year delay from concept to production is the reason the navigation system and music player in your car always feel dated compared to the apps on your phone.
We’re always looking for ways to accelerate the deployment of self-driving technology, since it’s inherently good in many different ways. So we made the decision a couple of years ago to shave years off our timeline and build our first wave of self-driving cars by starting with GM’s existing proven electric vehicle platform. We’re now manufacturing them on a production assembly line, which enables us to work through the issues unique to manufacturing self-driving cars, to make iterative improvements, and to significantly de-risk our path to scale. The end result is stunning, and we’re thrilled to share the experience with our customers in the near future. It’s comfortable, familiar, and will be a great initial introduction to our self-driving future.
And now, since we’re getting closer to launching our first wave of self-driving cars, it’s time to talk about what comes next.
Shouldn’t the car of the future have giant TV screens, a mini bar, and lay-flat seats? Maybe it should. We’ve been quietly prototyping a ground-breaking new vehicle over the past two years that is fully released from the constraints of having a driver behind the wheel. Building a new vehicle that has an incredible user experience, optimal operational parameters, and efficient use of space is the ultimate engineering challenge. We’re going to do this right, and by joining forces with Honda we’ve found the perfect partner to help make it happen.