GM is investing $300 million in Chinese autonomous driving technology startup Momenta to develop next-generation self-driving technologies for future GM vehicles in China, the companies announced Sept. 23.
“Customers in China are embracing electrification and advanced self-driving technology faster than anywhere else in the world, and the agreement between GM and Momenta will accelerate our deployment of next-generation solutions tailor-made for our consumers in China,” Julian Blissett, executive vice president of General Motors and president of GM China, said in a statement.
Momenta is developing a scalable path toward full autonomous driving using a data-driven approach to quickly iterate algorithms, as well as a “two-leg” product strategy focusing on both mass-production-ready highly autonomous driving solutions and a driving solution targeting full autonomy.
“Momenta is committed to developing breakthrough artificial intelligence solutions to push beyond the frontier of possibilities today and significantly improve personal mobility experiences,” Xudong Cao, CEO of Momenta, said in a statement. “Together with GM, we will jointly invest in autonomous vehicle technologies to enhance driving safety, convenience and efficiency.”
China passed the United States to become the world’s largest automotive market in 2009, with almost 30 million light vehicles sold there in 2018, nearly 70 percent more than the United States, according to a 2019 report from management consultant firm McKinsey in New York. In the long term, China will likely emerge as the world’s largest market for autonomous vehicles, with mass adoption of highly autonomous vehicles in China likely starting in 2027, the report noted.
GM aims to follow this trend. In China, the automaker is expanding its design and engineering facilities for electric vehicle (EV) and autonomous vehicle (AV) development, dramatically increasing its capability to deliver over-the-air software updates via GM’s Vehicle Intelligent Platform and 5G connectivity services, and preparing to roll out the company’s Ultium battery.
This new development marks the latest investment GM is making in novel technologies. For example. in June, GM announced it was investing $35 billion in engineering and capital in EV and AV technology from 2020 to 2025.