A couple of weeks after a report said a deal was being discussed, Cruise is indeed acquiring autonomous vehicle startup Voyage. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The majority of Voyage’s 60-person team will join GM-backed Cruise. Voyage co-founder and CEO Oliver Cameron will become Cruise’s VP of product.
Founded in 2017, Voyage has raised about $52 million, while Cruise has raised about $8 billion. Argo AI, Aurora, Waymo and many others have also raised much more capital than the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup, but Voyage was able to stand out by operating its adapted Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans in two retirement communities: a 4,000-resident retirement community in San Jose, and a 40-square-mile, 125,000-resident retirement city in Florida. You can watch a video of Voyage’s vehicles in action below.
Cruise is focused on robotaxis and recently started testing fully driverless cars, with a human safety driver still in the passenger seat in San Francisco. So while Voyage’s efforts within the retirement communities won’t be shut down immediately, multiple reports said Cruise will phase out these operations over time.
“Voyage’s approach has always been to leverage our limited resources to deliver a product that restores mobility to those who need it most: senior citizens. We’ve made tremendous progress towards this goal, moving countless senior citizens (some as old as 92!) around their communities,” Cameron wrote in a blog post announcing the deal. “Now at Cruise, we are thrilled to have the substantial resources to eventually serve not just senior citizens, but every possible demographic who stands to benefit from self-driving services.”
1/ I’m pleased to welcome @OliverCameron & @Voyage to the @Cruise team! Voyage is a nimble and highly capable company that shares our mission to make transportation safer & more accessible, and we’re thrilled that they’re joining us. pic.twitter.com/YhpJEpExSa
— Kyle Vogt (@kvogt) March 15, 2021
Cruise announced earlier this year that it will send its first self-driving test vehicles to Japan in 2021. This will be the first time Cruise deploys its vehicles internationally. Details about where, when and how many are unknown at this point. But the move appears to deepen the autonomous vehicle partnership between GM and Honda that started in 2018. Origin, a ride-sharing vehicle introduced in early 2020, was built from the ground-up by Cruise, GM and Honda.
Cruise started 2021 by raising another $2 billion in equity funding and announcing a partnership with Microsoft. Cruise will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service for its autonomous vehicles.
⏰ 2020 is the year of the self-driving car! pic.twitter.com/ISoYIs4f3F
— Voyage (@voyage) January 7, 2020
Industry consolidation continues
This is the latest in a series of acquisitions that have occurred in the autonomous vehicle industry the last few years. And the consolidation will continue as the industry matures.
The table below summarizes 10 of the most notable mergers and acquisitions in the autonomous vehicle space. As you can see, GM investment into Lyft and acquisition of Cruise in early 2016 seems to have started the craze. In 2017, Intel paid $15 billion for Mobileye and Ford announced a $1 billion investment into Argo AI.
|Woven Planet Holdings||Lyft Level 5||04/26/21||$550||Story|
|Ford, Volkswagen||Argo AI||07/12/19||3600||Story|
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