April 15th, U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart announced its investment in General Motors’ self-driving company Cruise, as a representative of traditional retailers, Wal-Mart into self-driving mainly out of what considerations, and what changes will bring to the market?
CNBC’s Mr. Ye said it was nothing new for technology companies and automakers to invest more in autonomous driving, but this time Wal-Mart, which represents traditional retailers, had attracted a lot of attention. The exact size of Wal-Mart’s investment was not disclosed, but it is estimated to be no more than $750 million. That’s because Cruise said the $2 billion raised had expanded to $2.75 billion ($17.93 billion) after Wal-Mart and some other institutional investors joined in. Microsoft was also among those involved in the financing.
Dan Aman, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF CRUISE, GM’S SELF-DRIVING COMPANY: Cruise is looking at the development of autonomous driving, which will be the largest application of artificial intelligence technology in our company. So It’S Natural For Cruise To Work With Microsoft.
In fact, in November, Wal-Mart announced that it would join forces with Cruise to pilot self-driving deliveries in Arizona. Wal-Mart now works with six self-driving technology providers, including Ford Motor Co’s self-driving division and Waymo, part of Google’s parent company Alphabet.
The logic of Wal-Mart’s entry into self-driving can be explained in several ways. First of all, it is the development of e-commerce. In early April, MasterCard reported a $900 billion increase in global online spending in 2020, and predicted a sustained and significant increase in online sales at grocery and discount stores in the wake of the outbreak. Amazon has been leading the way in the U.S. in recent years when it comes to online sales of groceries, but under the epidemic, major retailers, including Wal-Mart and Target, are catching up and the pressure on major platforms is mounting. Amazon has also been investing heavily in this area.
Last June, Amazon announced its acquisition of Zoox, a self-driving company, for an estimated $1.3 billion. They then filed a further patent for self-driving cars and drones to deliver packages. An industry report released in January estimated thatthe “last mile” automated delivery market is expected to be $11.9 billion this year and $84.72 billion by 2030, with a CAGR of 24.4 percent over the period.
While a small number of companies choose to develop independently,
Major technology companies, auto makers and various providers of self-driving technology have launched a combination of cooperation with major retail platforms in the hope of competing for the market.