SoftBank hasn't been shy about its interest in smart cars, and it's taking that fascination to a new level. The company's Vision Fund is investing $2.25 billion in GM's self-driving vehicle unit Cruise. The cash influx will start with $900 million the moment the transaction closes, and will finish with $1.35 billion once the completely driverless Cruise AV car is ready to launch. The move will give the Vision Fund a 19.6 percent stake in Cruise -- not enough to take control, but it could easily prove influential.
This isn't a complete shock when the Fund has been pouring money into ride-hailing services like Uber, Didi Chuxing and Grab on top of its usual tech investments. However, it still shows that SoftBank is determined to have a say in the future of autonomous transportation. And GM certainly isn't complaining. This helps it get Cruise's driverless vehicle ambitions off the ground without reaching quite so deeply into its own pockets.