Walmart partners with GM's Cruise on self-driving delivery pilot in AZ

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A Cruise self-driving car, which is owned by General Motors Corp, is seen outside the company’s headquarters in San Francisco where it does most of its testing, in California, U.S., September 26, 2018. Picture taken on September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Heather Somerville/File Photo

(Reuters) - Walmart Inc is adding Cruise, a majority-owned affiliate of U.S. automaker General Motors Co, to its roster of self-driving startup partners, in a pilot delivery program early next year in Scottsdale, Arizona, the retailer said on Tuesday.

Walmart previously has partnered with tech startups Flytrex, Nuro and Gatik on pilot delivery programs with self-driving vehicles in several U.S. locations, and with Ford Motor Co in a Miami delivery pilot.

Cruise has been testing its self-driving vehicles for several years in San Francisco, as well as Phoenix. In addition to robotaxis, it has provided automated grocery delivery services to residents in San Francisco.

Backed by Honda Motor Co, SoftBank Group and T. Rowe Price, Cruise told Reuters in an email it is “laser-focused on making this first pilot successful with Walmart.”

Cruise did not say how many vehicles will be deployed in the Walmart pilot.

Walmart announced the latest partnership in a blog post early Tuesday.

Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall