Trevor Collett | Mar 15, 2016

With autonomous cars on the up and up, General Motors appears keen to ensure it isn’t left behind. The global carmaker has reportedly signed a deal worth more than US$1 billion (AU$1.34 billion) to purchase Cruise Automation.

A start-up company from San Francisco, Cruise Automation is focused almost solely on self-driving cars.

The purchase of the three year-old company will complement GM’s existing autonomous car team, with the pair agreeing to terms after a relatively short six-week negotiation period.

To that end, GM is reportedly more concerned with developing its own autonomous tech rather than switch to using a Cruise-developed package.

With GM backing, Cruise will headhunt the best new talent it can find to join its 40-strong staff list, with at least ten engineering jobs already up for grabs.

Although a little-known company, Cruise Automation has been developing a retro-fitted autopilot system, currently available for some Audi models but capable of being adapted for a variety of different models, enabling hands-free driving on freeways and major highways, but not for city streets.

GM also splashed some cash on the Lyft company recently (around AU$670 million) to establish a partnership with the ride-sharing group which plans to focus on self-driven cars.

The deal is expected to be finalised before the middle of the year, with Cruise to maintain its current San Francisco base.

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