Waymo raises $3bn for vision of autonomous vehicle future
Autonomous vehicle company Waymo has been long established in the city of Phoenix, Arizona, where it has been conducting public trials of its autonomous vehicles.
Autonomous vehicle technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. While the eventual goal is an autonomous vehicle at level 5 of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) Levels of Driving Automation Standard, representing complete autonomy at all times, that target remains a way off. Waymo’s competitors include the likes of Tesla, which is planning a distributed network Tesla owners can sign their vehicles up to, and Chinese firm DiDi, which has been conducting its own autonomous vehicle trials in the city of Guangzhou.
Back in March, the Alphabet Inc.-owned firm announced its first ever external funding round, raising $2.25bn from participants including Silver Lake, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Mubadala Investment Company.
At the time, CEO John Krafcik said: "We've always approached our mission as a team sport, collaborating with our OEM and supplier partners, our operations partners, and the communities we serve to build and deploy the world's most experienced driver.
“Today, we're expanding that team, adding financial investors and important strategic partners who bring decades of experience investing in and supporting successful technology companies building transformative products. With this injection of capital and business acumen, alongside Alphabet, 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.”
A few days ago, the firm announced that others, including T. Rowe Price, Perry Creek Capital and Fidelity had joined the round, bringing the total size to $3bn. Waymo said it would use the money to invest in its technology as COVID-19 underscores the hygiene benefits of self-driving technology.
The news comes on the back of Waymo’s resumption of autonomous driving trials in Phoenix after they were disrupted by the pandemic.