GM autonomous unit Cruise valued at $19 billion in funding round

San Francisco (AFP) –


General Motors' autonomous driving division Cruise said Tuesday it raised $1.15 billion in a new funding round that values the unit at some $19 billion.

The news comes as Cruise races toward deployment of self-driving ride-hailing vehicles in a battle with rivals such as Uber, former Google car unit Waymo, Tesla and others.

"Developing and deploying self-driving vehicles at massive scale is the engineering challenge of our generation," said Cruise chief executive Dan Ammann.

"Having deep resources to draw on as we pursue our mission is a critical competitive advantage."

The new investment comes from a group of institutional investors, including T. Rowe Price funds, and existing funding partners General Motors, SoftBank Vision Fund and Honda.

The funding announcement offered no update on Cruise plans to deploy autonomous cars, but GM has said it plans to launch self-driving taxis sometime this year.

GM acquired Cruise in 2016 and has been conducting testing in the San Francisco area where the unit is headquartered.