Walmart Invests in GM Self-Driving Cruise, Pilot Delivery Program in Development
Walmart announced Thursday that the company will be investing in San Fransisco-based Cruise, the only autonomous vehicle company with the ability to produce fully integrated self-driving vehicles. Cruise was acquired by General Motors in 2016 and has partnered with other big names such as Honda and Microsoft.
The multinational retail company began working with Cruise in November of last year after developing a pilot program to use Cruise self-driving vehicles for deliveries in Scottsdale, Arizona, CNBC reports. As part of the pilot, customers can place an order from their local store and have it delivered via one of Cruise’s all-electric self-driving cars. The pilot is still in development.
“This investment is a marker for us — it shows our commitment to bringing the benefit of self-driving cars to our customers and business,” Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furner wrote in a post on the company website. The company has announced partnerships with six autonomous vehicle companies, including Cruise, Ford Motor, Waymo, Nuro, Udelv and Gatik, according to CNBC.
The investment round has been brought up to $2.75 billion at a valuation of more than $30 billion, Cruise announced on Thursday. The company has grown its registered testing fleet to more than 200 vehicles in San Francisco but hasn’t announced plans to offer a robotaxi fleet to the public, which it planned to do in 2019, as reported by CNBC.
Cruise is also planning to expand operations in Dubai in 2023 and has reached a deal to be the city’s provider for self-driving taxis and ride-hail services through 2029. Dubai will be the first non-U.S. city where the Cruise Origin vehicle will be launched.
“Self-driving cars will make transportation safer, cleaner and more accessible for everyone. Making this happen requires a clear mission, world-class talent, great partners and a lot of capital,” said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann.
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