GM to build autonomous vehicle facility in San Francisco, create 1,100 jobs

General Motors CEO Mary Barra said her company plans to build a $14 million research and development center in San Francisco to support its autonomous vehicle program. The deal is underwritten by an $8 million tax credit from the state of California. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

April 14 (UPI) — California approved an $8 million tax credit for Cruise Automation, the Silicon Valley startup purchased by General Motors, to advance its self-driving vehicle program.

The deal supports a $14 million investment GM is making in a new research and development facility in the technology corridor that is expected to result in an additional 1,100 new jobs, The Detroit News reported. The facility itself will be located on a brownfield in San Francisco.

“Expanding our team at Cruise Automation and linking them with our global engineering talent is another important step in our work to redefine the future of personal mobility,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement Thursday. “Self-driving technology holds enormous benefits to society in the form of increased safety and access to transportation. Running our autonomous vehicle program as a start-up is giving us the speed we need to continue to stay at the forefront of development of these technologies and the market applications.”

GM is already testing several autonomous vehicles in various states.

And while one old-line auto manufacturer is making inroads into the technology field, Apple, the biggest tech company of all is also upping the ante into the world of automakers.

Apple received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test three autonomous Lexus SUVs in the state. While CNN reported Apple has kept its interest in entering the self-driving car industry closely held, it’s believed they scaled back from initial plans to create an Apple car. Instead, the company is interested in creating software to help the vehicles operate.

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In applying for the DMV testing permit, Apple was not required to say what parts of the Lexus SUVs it had helped create.

The news comes three weeks after Uber, the ride-sharing company, halted its autonomous vehicle pilot program after a traffic accident in Arizona involving one of the pilot vehicles. Police said the driver of the non-Uber vehicle was to blame for the crash. Uber has not set a timeline for putting its autonomous vehicles back on the road.

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