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Walmart invests in self-driving electric car company Cruise after delivery pilot

·Former Correspondent
·2 min read
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Walmart (WMT), the world's largest retailer, has invested in San Francisco-based Cruise, the only self-driving car company with a fleet of all-electric vehicles powered with 100% renewable energy.

"Over the years we’ve been doing a lot to learn more about the role autonomous vehicles can play in retail, and we’ve seen enough to know it’s no longer a question of if they’ll be scaled, but when," Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner wrote in a memo.

In the note, Furner called Walmart's investment "a marker" for the retailer that shows its "commitment to bringing the benefit of self-driving cars" to its customers and business. According to Furner, Walmart's investment in Cruise will help the company work towards "developing a last mile delivery ecosystem that’s fast, low-cost and scalable."

In November, Walmart began a delivery pilot with Cruise in Scottsdale, Arizona. Furner touted the company's "differentiated business model, unique technology and unmatched driverless testing."

The investment in Cruise also fits in Walmart's plans to tackle climate change. In September, Walmart shared its plans to become a zero-emission company across its global operations by 2040. Part of that plan includes electrifying and zeroing out emissions from its vehicles, including its fleet of long-haul trucks.

With Walmart and several other institutional investors, Cruise, which is a majority-owned subsidiary of General Motors (GM), raised a total of $2.75 billion in its latest round at a valuation of more than $30 billion, according to a separate press release.

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2019, file photo, Cruise AV, General Motor's autonomous electric Bolt EV is displayed in Detroit. General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicle unit says it will pull the human backup drivers from its vehicles in San Francisco by the end of the year. CEO Dan Ammann says that the Cruise got a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 to let the cars travel on their own.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2019, file photo, Cruise AV, General Motor's autonomous electric Bolt EV is displayed in Detroit. General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicle unit says it will pull the human backup drivers from its vehicles in San Francisco by the end of the year. CEO Dan Ammann says that the Cruise got a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 to let the cars travel on their own. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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