GM Cruise, the tech division of automaker GM that recently showed off a self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV devoid of a steering wheel, is ready to shift into overdrive. That's because SoftBank Vision Fund said Thursday that it will invest $2.25 billion into GM Cruise in exchange for a 19.6 percent stake in the autonomous car tech company.
Initially, SoftBank will pay GM $900 million with the remainder to be paid when GM Cruise's first cars are set for commercial deployment. GM Cruise is targeting sometime in 2019 for the first examples of its steering wheel-free Cruise AV to leave the automaker's Orion Township, Michigan, assembly plant. SoftBank, the world's biggest tech investment fund, will pay out the remaining $1.35 billion at that time.
The transaction also includes a provision that GM will pump $1.1 billion of its own cash into GM Cruise once the vehicles hit the road.
Japan-based SoftBank is no stranger to self-driving car tech. The firm is Uber's single largest investor and it has also pumped cash into Southeast Asian ride-share firm Grab.
GM's self-driving car division hasn't made the same headlines as Uber and Google's Waymo unit, but it is poised to be among the first companies to commercialize autonomous vehicles.