General Motors joined a group of investors in Nauto, a Silicon Valley startup developing software for self-driving vehicles. Alicia Powell reports.
General Motors is investing in Nauto, a two-year-old Silicon Valley startup developing software for self-driving vehicles. None of the companies disclosed the amount of the investment. Michael Harley, managing editor for Kelley Blue Book says, it's a great move for GM. (SOUNDBITE) MICHAEL HARLEY, MANAGING EDITOR, KELLEY BLUE BOOK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This is an automaker who has expertise in manufacturing vehicles, reaching out to somebody who has expertise with software and autonomous driving technology. This is actually no different than your hair salon reaching out to Vidal Sassoon just to supply shampoo or your restaurant offering Ben & Jerry's desserts, you know. They are reaching out to experts." To develop its technology, Nauto uses two cameras, one aimed at the road and the other at the driver. The goal is to gather data on driver distraction and on the environment around vehicles and speed up development of self-driving technology. GM's investment is part of Nauto's just completed $159 million financing round. It was led by SoftBank and and venture capital firm Greylock Partners. Other investors included BMW, Toyota, and insurance giant Allianz. Nauto declined to specify the company's post-funding valuation. But its CEO said it was shy of $1 billion "unicorn" status in Silicon Valley.