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GM and Ford announce investments in driving technology

Cars Image copyright Getty Images

US carmakers General Motors and Ford have both announced strategies geared at taking on the tech world's growing influence in the car industry.

GM will buy Cruise Automation, a firm that creates self-driving technology.

Ford will set up a Silicon Valley-based subsidiary to invest in car-sharing and ride-hailing services.

Both have been making investments in technology to boost their role in the personal mobility market, that is moving away from driving.

GM has not disclosed how much it will pay for Cruise Automation, in a deal expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2016.

The company has been testing its self-driving cars in San Francisco and should help GM in its quest to beat Google to be the first producer of consumer-ready self-driving cars.

Cruise Automation will operate as an independent unit within GM's automated driving division.

"Fully autonomous vehicles can bring our customers enormous benefits in terms of greater convenience, lower cost and improved safety for their daily mobility needs," said GM president Dan Ammann.

Ride-sharing

Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles and ride-hailing services in London and Kansas City.

The new subsidiary - Ford Smart Mobility - will invest in these sectors further. In a statement, the company said: "Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities."

The unit will not initially be reported in Ford's earnings statements.

"Our plan is to quickly become part of the growing transportation services market, which already accounts for $5.4 trillion in annual revenue," said Ford's chief executive Mark Fields.

Ford Smart Mobility will be run by Jim Hackett, the former head of office furniture and technology supplier Steelcase.

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