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The General completes purchase of autonomous tech start-up

General Motors in Detroit has successfully bought the three-year-old Cruise Automation company based in San Francisco.

The merger will see this important technology accelerate the automaker’s foray into the autonomous car marketplace in the future. Media sources rumour the final price at around $1 billion.

Cruise has developed a device which allows drivers to drive a vehicle onto a highway and push a button to transfer throttle, brake and steering controls away from the driver. They have also conceived similar devices for farm and mining equipment

Co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt will report to GM’s autonomous development department, while the company remains based in San Fran.

GM invested half a billion dollars in ride-sharing business Lyft back in January, also based in SF, and together the two companies launched Express Drive, a vehicle rental program based in Chicago. Express Drive allows Lyft drivers to rent a vehicle for $99 per week for up to eight weeks.

At Warren Tech Centre, the tech bug within GM, employees will start using autonomous Chevrolet Volts later in 2016, while the Cadillac CT6 (due in 2017) will feature Super Cruise which will use semi-autonomous vehicle operation.