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GM, Apple To Expand Self-Driving Programs In Bay Area

A 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

San Francisco is fast becoming ground zero for self-driving product development. After receiving an $8M tax break from California, General Motors, through self-driving startup Cruise Automation, will expand its presence in San Francisco, the San Francisco Business Times reports. The automaker also invested $14M into a new R&D facility in San Francisco. GM plans to create more than 1,100 jobs averaging salaries of $116K within the next five years. It grew its San Francisco staff from 46 to 150 within the last year.

“Accessing the world-class talent pool that the San Francisco Bay Area offers is one of the many reasons we plan to grow our presence in the state,” Cruise Automation founder Kyle Vogt said.

The self-driving company, which originally sold aftermarket self-driving kits, is now testing more than 50 self-driving Chevy Bolts in San Francisco, Arizona and Michigan, according to MotorTrend. GM partnered with Lyft in 2016 to develop a fleet of on-demand self-driving vehicles, and they are planning to put thousands of self-driving Chevy Bolt EVs on the road by 2018.

Apple just joined around 30 companies authorized to test autonomous vehicles in California, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The computer tech giant will join the likes of BMW, Tesla, Honda, Ford and Alphabet’s Waymo, which have been testing autonomous cars with a driver at the wheel.

Apple’s Project Titan has long been under a cloud of secrecy. Many experts speculated Apple had plans to develop an electric car on par with Tesla, but news reports in 2016 said it shifted gears to developing just self-driving tech.