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Why General Motors Is Quietly Shopping for Top Talent in Israel So It Can Make Autonomous Cars

When General Motors Co. (GM) decided in March 2016 to buy a small San Francisco-based startup called Cruise Automation for more than half a billion dollars, its purpose was to capture the brainpower and output of a small number of software engineers specializing in autonomous and driverless vehicles.

GM -- since 2008 -- also has been quietly pursuing another strategy to amass driverless software and other "non-traditional" technological talent at its Advanced Technical Center in Herzliya, Israel, just north of Tel Aviv. Like the West Coast of the U.S., the small Mediterranean country has become a major recruiting ground for digital and software talent. Global automakers, including Ford Motor Co. (F) , Daimler AG (DDAIF) , Renault SA, Nissan Motor Corp. (NSANY) and China's SAIC, have opened technical centers in the country.

After Silicon Valley, Israel boasts the largest number of startups globally at about 6,000, said Gil...


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