Cruise, the self-driving division of General Motors, has landed a fresh $1.15 billion in funding, boosting its valuation to $19 billion including the new funds and giving it additional firepower to launch a planned robo-taxi service this year. The investment came from T Rowe Price, the mutual fund manager, as well as existing Cruise investors SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Honda and GM… Including the latest round, Cruise has raised $7.25 billion in equity in the past year, following previous injections from Honda and SoftBank. Cruise is among a handful of pioneers in driverless technology that have secured huge equity investments in the race to get autonomous vehicles on to public roads… There has been a sharp acceleration in investment into US-based start-ups working on driverless technologies from $282 million in 2015 to $4.5 billion in 2018, according to researchers at CB Insights. The trend is continuing this year, with several companies announcing new rounds… The widely recognised leader in the field is Alphabet’s Waymo, which is already piloting a commercial taxi service in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. Cruise is majority owned by GM, which acquired the start-up in 2016… At its new valuation, Cruise accounts for more than a third of GM’s $54 billion market capitalisation.