Honda to invest $2.8bn in GM’s self-driving car unit

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GM Cruise self-driving car.
Reuters

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GM has done extensive testing of its Cruise robot cars in cities and on busy roads

Honda is to invest $2.75bn (£2.1bn) and take a stake in General Motors’ self-driving unit, GM Cruise, as firms continue to team up in the race to develop autonomous vehicles.

The Japanese carmaker said it wanted to develop a self-driving car that could be mass produced.

It comes as Toyota and Softbank created a new venture to develop transport services using autonomous vehicles.

A series of accidents have left some consumers wary of driverless cars.

‘Mobility services’

Under the tie-up with GM, Honda will contribute approximately $2bn over 12 years to self-driving vehicle initiatives, which together with a $750m equity investment in Cruise, brings its total commitment to the project to $2.75bn, the two firms said in a statement.

Analysts have said that GM is among the leaders in the development of self-driving vehicles.

Earlier this year, Japan’s Softbank invested $2.25bn in GM Cruise. Honda’s investment in GM Cruise, together with Softbank’s recent investment, values the firm at $14.6bn.

Softbank has also announced a partnership with Toyota to provide “new mobility services”, which includes the development of autonomous services.

The Japanese pair have created a joint venture partner called MONET – short for mobility services – that will start with 2bn yen in capital.

It plans to use Toyota’s electric cars to provide autonomous services in the coming years.

“Possibilities include demand-focused just-in-time mobility services, such as meal delivery vehicles where food is prepared on the move, hospital shuttles where onboard medical examinations can be performed, mobile offices,” the companies said.

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Japanese carmaker Toyota developing technologies for self-driving vehicles

The rush to develop self-driving technology comes amid some consumer concern over safety.

Uber briefly suspended self-driving cars tests in March after a fatal accident in the US, while a self-driving car owned by Apple was involved in an accident this month.

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San Francisco-based GM Cruise, which developed Chevy’s first driverless cars, argues the technology it is working on allows self-driving cars to see more than a human driver would.

In each car, 10 cameras are installed that take pictures at a frequency of 10 shots per second.

“We see more of what is going on around the car at any given time than a driver can,” GM Cruise said.

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