General Motors and the SoftBank Vision Fund will invest $3.35 billion in GM Cruise Holdings LLC (GM Cruise), the autonomous driving division that GM started in 2016 with the purchase of Cruise Automation. SoftBank plans to invest $2.25 billion in the venture with GM offering the remaining $1.1 billion.

“Our Cruise and GM teams together have made tremendous progress over the last two years,” says GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Teaming up with SoftBank adds an additional strong partner as we pursue our vision of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.”

“GM has made significant progress toward realizing the dream of completely automated driving to dramatically reduce fatalities, emissions, and congestion,” says Michael Ronen, managing partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers. “The GM Cruise approach of a fully integrated hardware and software stack gives it a unique competitive advantage.”

The SoftBank Vision Fund investment will be made in two tranches. At the closing of the transaction, the Vision Fund will invest the first tranche of $900 million. At the time that Cruise AVs are ready for commercial deployment, the Vision Fund will complete the second tranche of $1.35 billion, subject to regulatory approval. The SoftBank Vision Fund will own a 19.6% equity stake in GM Cruise and afford GM increased flexibility in capital allocation. www.gm.com; www.softbank-ia.com

Ansys buys Optis for autonomous driving simulation software

Simulation software giant Ansys has expanded its autonomous driving options with the purchase of Optis, an optical simulation provider. Ansys officials say the purchase gives the company the industry’s “most comprehensive solution for simulating autonomous vehicles.”

Optis’ photo-realistic, virtual reality, closed-loop simulation platform, coupled with Ansys’ multiphysics portfolio, offers safety and reliability validation – speeding time to market by mitigating the need for billions of miles of road testing.

With Optis, Ansys can simulate all sensors – light detection and ranging (LiDAR), cameras, and radar; physical components; and electronic systems. It can also analyze systems’ functional safety and support automated development of safety-certified embedded software. A closed-loop simulation environment can interact with weather and traffic simulators, enabling thousands of virtual driving scenarios.

“More than 90% of automotive accidents are caused by human error, and autonomous vehicles have the potential to virtually eliminate accidents,” says Eric Bantegnie, Ansys vice president and general manager. “Ansys – along with Optis technology – will help bring safe, reliable autonomous vehicles to market sooner, reducing automotive accidents and deaths.” www.ansys.com