Walmart invests into self-driving car company Cruise
Walmart joins latest funding round of the multi-billion dollar-valued autonomous vehicle start-up, following delivery trial with Cruise vehicles
Walmart has invested into Cruise, a San Francisco-based autonomous car company backed by GM, among others.
The investment comes after Walmart used Cruise vehicles in a delivery pilot and comes as part of Cruise’s latest funding round.
That funding round raised $2.75 billion and follows hot on the heels of another round of funding, which resulted in more than $2 billion of investment in January 2021.
Cruise aims to build a fleet of autonomous and fully electric vehicles, utilising the chassis of their automotive partners Honda and GM and combining it with their hardware and software to make the cars fully self-driving.
Walmart has been working with Cruise since November 2020 on a delivery pilot in Scottsdale, Arizona. Walmart customers have been able to order from superstores in Scottsdale and have their order delivered by a Cruise’s self-driving car. It would appear that Walmart has been suitably impressed by the trial and that has spurred it to make the direct investment.
“Over the years we’ve been doing a lot to learn more about the role autonomous vehicles can play in retail,” said John Furner, President and CEO of Walmart US in a press release, “and we’ve seen enough to know it’s no longer a question ofif they’ll be scaled, but when.”
He cited their desire to bring “The benefit of self-driving cars to our customers and business,” and “to reduce the carbon footprint of Walmart” as being behind the investment.
Furner said that they expect Cruise to continue to be part of their delivery plans, as “The investment will aid our work toward developing a last mile delivery ecosystem that’s fast, low-cost and scalable.”