Need to Know
- Walmart has announced its investment in GM’s self-driving car, Cruise.
- The electric, self-driving vehicle has been used by Walmart already as part of a pilot delivery service and supports Walmart’s efforts to take action against climate change.
- The investment is the latest in a number of investments by Walmart to take on nearly every possible industry, from healthcare to finance, and more.
Venturing for the first time into the automaking industry, Walmart has announced it is investing in Cruise, a self-driving vehicle subsidiary from General Motors. The undisclosed figure from Walmart now brings Cruise’s fundraising total to $2.75 billion.
The decision to invest comes months after the two companies partnered up late last year to pilot a self-driving delivery service.
As part of the pilot program, customers could place an order from their local Walmart store and have it delivered contact-free via one of Cruise’s self-driving electric cars.
According to a statement from Walmart, Cruise is the only self-driving car company to operate an entire fleet of all-electric vehicles powered with 100% renewable energy. The partnership supports Walmart’s efforts to take action on climate change and become emission-free by 2040.
As part of the new investment, Walmart can further develop its own “delivery ecosystem that’s fast, low-cost and scalable.”
“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. CEO John Furner said in a blog post on Walmart’s website. “We’re excited to join Cruise’s already impressive partner and investor ecosystem with the likes of GM, Honda and Microsoft as we work towards pioneering this emerging technology.”
Given the rapidly-changing retail market in the past year, and the rise of digital-first customer service, Walmart has invested in innovation in a seemingly endless list of different industries.
The retail giant last week filed a trademark to patent Hazel, Walmart’s own fintech firm that could offer a credit and debit card, among other financial services.
Walmart has also joined the vaccine effort by launching its own digital vaccination record, available to anyone who gets inoculated at a Walmart or Sam’s Club location.
And the almost-60-year-old retailer is meeting the younger generation where they are: on social media. Walmart is following the footsteps of leading retail brands when it comes to social selling and tapping into the power of TikTok to make sales online.