Walmart has invested in San Francisco-based Cruise, which is working on an all-electric fleet of self-driving cars, according to a press release. Walmart said it has been looking into the role of autonomous vehicles in the past few years, saying that it has “seen enough to know it’s no longer a question of if they’ll be scaled, but when.”
The investment in Cruise will help Walmart toward its goal of a last-mile delivery ecosystem that is “fast, low-cost and scalable.” Walmart has been working with Cruise since last November on a delivery pilot in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Walmart said its focus on delivery comes as eCommerce has become a staple in the lives of customers amid the pandemic. The retailer also cited Cruise’s fleet being powered by 100 percent renewable energy, which will help Walmart achieve its goal to achieve zero emissions by 2040 and to be fully powered by renewable energy by 2035.
In addition, the company is working with Project Gigaton, a large private-sector consortium for climate action, the release noted.
Walmart said that its investment in Cruise “shows our commitment to bringing the benefit of self-driving cars to our customers and business. We’re excited to join Cruise’s already impressive partner and investor ecosystem with the likes of GM, Honda and Microsoft as we work toward pioneering this emerging technology,” the retailer added.
Cruise was also recently the recipient of funds from Microsoft, in a funding round that ended up netting Cruise $2 billion in equity funding and brought its valuation to $30 billion. Microsoft’s involvement was part of the tech giant’s strategic relationship with Cruise and GM to help power electric vehicles. Cruise will gain access to Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platforms; in exchange, Microsoft will leverage Cruise’s expertise to boost its customer-driven product innovation. Microsoft will also become GM’s preferred cloud provider for digitization efforts.