The Detroit News

GM-backed self-driving company Cruise in talks to buy startup Voyage

- BY DAVID WELCH, MARK BERGEN AND ED LUDLOW

Cruise, the self-driving vehicle company majority owned by General Motors Co., is in talks to acquire Voyage, an autonomous technology startup that operates in retirement communitie­s, according to people familiar with the matter.

The companies are in serious discussion­s, one of the people said, but no deal is imminent. If an agreement is struck, it would merge Cruise’s engineerin­g and software capabiliti­es with Voyage’s presence in the retirement community market, which is well suited for a driverless taxi business. The people asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

“We have nothing to announce but Cruise is always looking to add to our world-class engineerin­g team as we work to solve the greatest engineerin­g challenge of a generation,” Cruise spokesman Ray Wert said. GM shares rose less than 1% in extended trading on Tuesday.

The talks highlight the current state of autonomous vehicle developmen­t.

Two years ago, investors thought self-driving cars could be on public roads relatively quickly, but delays in deploying paid services by Cruise and Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet Inc., have cause some investors

to back off.

Since then, startups have shut down or been acquired by larger players. Starsky Robotics Inc. closed last year. Zoox Inc. sold to Amazon.com Inc.

Voyage had raised about $52 million in venture capital funding. The Palo Alto, California­based startup, co-founded in

2017 by Oliver Cameron and other engineers, has focused on low speed self-driving cars to ferry elderly passengers around

retirement communitie­s.

The Florida location has more than 125,000 residents who pay for the service. The company’s latest autonomous vehicle is a hybrid Chrysler Pacifica that can operate without a safety driver, according to Voyage.

Cameron, the chief executive officer, previously said Voyage’s more modest ambitions required less capital, letting the startup resist any potential suitors. He also said solving the hardest problems for self-driving cars in busy urban environmen­ts would require more than 1,000 engineers.

“This technology can start in

calmer communitie­s and towns,” Oliver said in an interview in October. “The capital needed to pull this off is not tiny, but it ain’t billions of dollars and as a result we can continue to be independen­t.”

Cruise has raised more than $8 billion and ultimately wants to offer fully autonomous vehicles in most environmen­ts. It has been putting building blocks in place to commercial­ize its technology.

The company has a delivery pilot with Walmart Stores Inc. and hired Delta Air Lines Inc. executive Gil West as chief operating officer in January.

Answer for The Word Game in tomorrow’s paper.

This is a puzzle titled with a theme. Find the listed words in the grid. They may run in any direction, but they always run in a straight line. Some letters may be used more then once when words intersect. Mark off each word as you find it, and when you have completed the list there will be a number of letters left spare. Arrange these to spell out a descriptiv­e phrase related to the theme

 ?? Daniel Mears
/ The Detroit News ?? Cruise has raised more than $8 billion and ultimately wants to offer fully autonomous vehicles in most environmen­ts.
Daniel Mears / The Detroit News Cruise has raised more than $8 billion and ultimately wants to offer fully autonomous vehicles in most environmen­ts.
 ?? Voyage ?? Voyage’s Commander is the brain behind the autonomous navigation system the company claims has a single responsibi­lity: navigate a car from point A to B safer than a human.
Voyage Voyage’s Commander is the brain behind the autonomous navigation system the company claims has a single responsibi­lity: navigate a car from point A to B safer than a human.

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