Japan’s SoftBank rides shotgun with GM autonomous car unit

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The Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank will spend $2.25 billion for a nearly a 20 percent stake in General Motors’ autonomous vehicle unit. | AP file photo

DETROIT — The Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank will spend $2.25 billion for a nearly a 20 percent stake in General Motors’ autonomous vehicle unit.

GM said Thursday that it will also sink another $1.1 billion into its GM Cruise automated division. The capital infusion is designed to speed large-scale deployment of self-driving robotaxis next year.

The move widens the SoftBank Vision Fund’s influence in ride-hailing services. The fund closed a deal in January to spend about $9 billion for a 15 percent stake in Uber.

GM Cruise would remain a wholly owned subsidiary of GM with the automaker holding roughly 80 percent of the business.

GM has announced plans to carry passengers in self-driving cars that won’t have a backup driver in 2019.

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