Walmart and Cruise will begin testing deliveries by driverless car in 2021.
On April 16, Cruise, GM’s autonomous driving company, announced several good news this week. The company not only signed a cooperation agreement with the Dubai road and transport authority, but also disclosed that it has obtained investment from Wal Mart. It is said that Wal Mart and several unnamed institutional investors increased funds in the $2 billion equity financing announced in January, which was led by Microsoft.
John Funer, Wal Mart’s U.S. chief executive, confirmed the message on Thursday and said investors’ focus on cruise would extend beyond self-driving taxis and San Francisco. It is said that Walmart’s investment will bring Cruise’s total equity financing to $2.75 billion. Cruise said the company’s market value after the financing exceeded $30bn.
It is reported that before that, the two companies jointly launched a pilot project of automatic delivery system in Scottsdale, Arizona, which was launched in November last year. Under the pilot program, the two companies said customers would be able to place orders from local Wal Mart stores and deliver them through Cruise’s self driving electric Chevrolet bolt. Although the vehicle will operate automatically, there will always be a human safety operator behind the steering wheel.
Cruise is not Wal Mart’s only self driving partner. The retail giant has teamed up with a number of independent car developers, including Waymo, to test how the technology can eventually be used on a commercial scale. Wal Mart also worked with Gatik to develop driverless transport trucks, which were tested in Arkansas and Louisiana.