General Motors' self-driving vehicle unit, Cruise, has attracted new investors and an equity infusion of $1.15 billion as it continues work on its commercial fleet of autonomous taxis. The new investment, which effectively brings the operation's valuation to $19 billion, is primarily fronted by Baltimore-based asset management company T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. and existing partners like SoftBank's Vision Fund and Honda Motor Co.

"Developing and deploying self-driving vehicles at massive scale is the engineering challenge of our generation," said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann. "Having deep resources to draw on as we pursue our mission is a critical competitive advantage." 

Considering Cruise has one of the most ambitious timelines of any mainstay automaker, it likely needs all the help that it can get. Last year, we learned of setbacks plaguing the program - a phenomenon not uncommon among companies developing self-driving systems. However, some of the capital funneled into the program is dependent on Cruise hitting proposed target dates - the first of which involves launching a commercial service by the end of this year.

Otherwise, things have been going well for the company. Sizable investments have helped the firm, which began as a startup with around 40 employees grows to a workforce over 1,000 strong. It's also currently expanding is San Francisco offices and intends to lay additional roots in Seattle, hiring hundreds of new engineers. Ultimately, GM leadership sees its autonomous arm doubling in size before year's end.

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC