Author: Lindsey Boycott
Estimated read time: 3 minutes
Publication date: 10th Mar 2020 13:35 GMT+1
Waymo raised a staggering $2.25 billion in its first-ever funding round, and the buck doesn't stop there. As the self-driving car company starts to scale up, they expect to raise more funds to support those efforts. Silver Lake Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Mubadala Investment Company led the investment with additional capital coming from other forward-looking firms.
“Waymo is the proven leader in self-driving technology, is the only autonomous vehicle company with a public ride-hailing service, and is successfully scaling its fully driverless experience,” said Egon Durban, Co-CEO of Silver Lake. “We’re deeply aligned with Waymo’s commitment to making our roads safer, and look forward to working together to help advance and scale the Waymo Driver in the US and beyond.”
While raising the capital is a coup for the autonomous vehicle company, the business of building a self-driving vehicle is an expensive undertaking. Competitors like GM's (NYSE: GM) self-driving segment, Cruise, raised $7.25 billion from its parent company and outside investors. Another example is Ford's (NYSE: F) Argo AI that received a $2.6 billion investment from VW (TRADEGATE: VOW3) in 2019.
The external funding round is the latest step that Waymo is taking to step up operations. The Mountain View-based firm is expanding into other locations, mapping and testing its technology in new Florida locales while adding to its core fleets in Mountain View, California, and Phoenix, Arizona.
“With this injection of capital and business acumen, alongside Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG), we’ll deepen our investment in our people, our technology, and our operations, all in support of the deployment of the Waymo Driver around the world,” said CEO John Krafcik.
While the former Google subsidiary is still working up to offering the first fully independent auto to the world, it is also getting its ride-hailing service Waymo One off the ground in Phoenix. Late last year, the company started running some routes without safety drivers. In addition, the firm is making inroads with enterprise applications for its technology. The company’s autonomously operating semi-truck arm, Waymo Via, has been in the works since 2017, and there are plans to start selling its proprietary LIDAR sensors (light detection and ranging sensors) to robotics, security, and ag-tech companies.
The company also recently signed a partnership deal with UPS (NYSE: UPS). Using Waymo's Chrysler Pacifica minivans, the vehicles will pick up packages from UPS store locations and deliver them to a local UPS sorting facility. A monitor-driver is onboard for these trips but only to ensure safe operations. Currently, it is only a pilot project, but Waymo is angling for more extensive strategic partnerships with UPS and others. Similar deals have been signed with Renault (OTC: RNLSY) and Nissan (OTC: NSANY) to explore how autonomous vehicles can be used for commercial purposes in Europe.
Waymo Driver, the self-driving technology, has driven more than 20 million miles on public roads spanning 25 cities, and 10 billion+ miles in simulation. Waymo One, the ride-hailing arm operating in Phoenix, has more than 1,500 active riders.
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