Concept autonomous cars from BMW and Daimler Photo: BMW/Daimler

Walmart Pursues EV with GM Investment as Tesla Fends Off Criticism

In a story that was originally published by Motley Fool, shares the information that Walmart has invested big time in EV and in particular in GM Electric Vehicles.

Declaring “it’s no longer a question of if…but when” autonomous vehicles are used in retail, President and CEO of Walmart U.S., John Furner, announced the retail titan’s intention to invest in General Motors’ Cruise self-driving car.

Furner said the move will “aid our work toward developing a last-mile delivery ecosystem that’s fast, low-cost and scalable.”

The Walmart investment brings the total of Cruise’s most recent funding round to $2.75 billion, though neither GM nor Cruise provides specifics on how much each individual company contributes to the whole, CNBC reports. Other investors in the subsidiary include GM itself, Microsoft, Honda Motor, and institutional investors. Among other projects, Cruise intends to roll out self-driving taxis in Dubai within the next two years.

GM and Walmart began to test the Cruise last year in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Phoenix area has long been a testing ground for EVs, with some mixed results. After five months of testing, Walmart says it is, “impressed with Cruise’s differentiated business model, unique technology and unmatched driverless testing.”

While Walmart becoming interested in EVs may not be surprising considering its foray into numerous areas of commerce, other smaller companies are pursuing the same goals or “last-mile delivery” parameters. Domino’s Pizza is trying out Nuro’s R2 robots to deliver pizzas to Houstonians, while Chipotle Mexican Grill invested in Nuro directly.

Tesla Deaths in Houston

While Elon Musk put his hands in his lap while driving on a “60 Minutes” segment, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to let an autonomous car drive itself. You have to pay attention, no matter which model or brand of autonomous EV you buy. At least three people have died in fatal crashes involving Autopilot.

A story on explored the latest crash, reporting that the two men who were the latest fatalities were not behind the wheel of the Tesla when it crashed. This comes after an investigation into the fatal 2018 crash in Mountain View, California. Following that, the NTSB asked the federal government and Tesla to ensure that drivers can only operate Tesla’s automated safety features in places where they are safe.

Two men died in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, on Saturday evening when their 2019 Model S reportedly slammed into a tree and caught fire.

Musk has done a lot of backpedaling when it comes to promoting his “self-driving Tesla.” It is not self-driving, it must be monitored.

Harris County Constable Mark Herman said that while local authorities’ preliminary investigation is not complete, they believe no one was behind the wheel of the vehicle when it crashed. “We’re almost 99.9 percent sure,” he said. The bodies of the two victims were reportedly found in the passenger and back seats. Herman told Reuters that the men were talking about Autopilot before they hopped in the car.

“We have witness statements from people that said they left to test-drive the vehicle without a driver and to show the friend how it can drive itself,” he said.

It can’t.

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