Honda is partnering with General Motors' Cruise Automation to help develop autonomous vehicles. And they're putting big money into it: about $3.5 billion.
The General and Honda have already partnered on advanced battery technology, and even on bringing a hydrogen fuel cell to market. That's on top of deals like the one that saw Saturn crossovers boasting Honda V6 engines. This new one might be the biggest yet.
The contributions from Honda start with US $750 million ($963 million) in equity in GM's Cruise Automation. Then the company will contribute approximately US $2 billion ($2.6 billion) over the next 12 years toward Cruise Automation initiatives.
That's a long-term commitment. GM says that the funds will go toward developing a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise. That vehicle is intended to be manufactured in big volumes and be deployed worldwide. The companies will also explore opportunities to develop and commercially deploy a network of Cruise vehicles.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said that the two will work to develop a space-efficient AV that is designed to minimize congestion. The company plans to keep building the first generation of its AV on GM's Bolt platform, but with Honda and GM's help, the next one will be a dedicated autonomous ride.
“Honda chose to collaborate with Cruise and General Motors based on their leadership in autonomous and electric vehicle technology and our shared vision of a zero-emissions and zero-collision world,” said Honda Executive Vice President and Representative Director COO Seiji Kuraishi. “We will complement their strengths through our expertise in space efficiency and design to develop the most desirable and effective shared autonomous vehicle.”
GM CEO Mary Barra called the partnership "the logical next step in General Motors and Honda’s relationship," based on the companies previous and ongoing high-tech collaborations.