Vehicle manufacturer General Motors (GM) unit Cruise, the self-driving company, is looking to expand in Seattle, City of Washington, as it seeks more engineers to develop its technology. However, the company doesn’t have any projects right now to test its autonomous vehicles in the city. But, the company plans to set up offices in Seattle to lure and hire between 100 to 200 engineers by the end of 2019.
In a statement, CEO Kyle Vogt stated that to continue growing a team that is diverse and rich in talent, the company believe that it’s important to explore talent pools outside of the Bay Area, and Seattle’s vibrant tech community and proximity to the company’s headquarters in San Francisco make it a right choice.
The hunting for skilled people with backgrounds in software engineering, robotics, and AI has heated up as companies race to develop and use autonomous vehicles. GM Cruise has one of the most aggressive timelines among their competitors hoping to use a commercial self-driving vehicle service. The company has said it plans to introduce a commercial autonomous ride-hailing service by 2019. To do that, the company has received a USD 2.25 billion funding by SoftBank’s vision fund in May this year. And recently, Honda invested USD 2.75 billion as part of an exclusive deal with GM and Cruise to develop and produce a new kind of autonomous vehicle.
As part of that agreement, Honda will invest USD2 billion into the effort over the next 12 years. Honda is also making an urgent and direct equity funding of USD750 million into Cruise, which expedites the company’s valuation up to USD 14.6 billion.