General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] announced it has bought San Francisco-based Cruise Automation, a young startup firm that specializes in autonomous vehicle technology.

The acquisition, GM says, will help it move forward on its plans for cars that are capable of driving themselves.

Cruise was founded in 2013 and has been testing autonomous vehicles in San Francisco's uniquely urban setting. The firm sells a set of sensors for $10,000 that could potentially allow current vehicles to be driven autonomously.

GM's Autonomous Vehicle Development Team will be in charge of Cruise, but the new acquisition will exist largely independently of its Detroit-based parent. Cruise and the GM Autonomous Vehicle Development Team will both remain based in San Francisco.

The team is headed by GM's Doug Parks, who serves as vice president of autonomous technology and vehicle execution for the automaker.

GM hasn't said how much it paid for Cruise Automation, but the latest move follows up on a recent $500 million investment in ride-sharing service Lyft, plus the launch of a new car-sharing brand called Maven. The automaker recently announced plans to develop an autonomous car service with Lyft, which is in the race for driverless cars against Uber.