Nearly a decade after Google started experimenting with driverless cars, Waymo, the autonomous vehicle unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, says it has raised $2.25 billion, mostly from outside investors.
The funding had been led by the private equity firm Silver Lake, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Abu Dhabi state investment arm, Mubadala. The company did not disclose at what valuation the investors acquired a stake in it.
“We’ve always approached our mission as a team sport. The $2.25 billion number is an ‘initial’ close.” John Krafcik, CEO, Waymo, Source: Bloomberg
Additionally, Waymo did not say exactly what it will do with the investment, but it did share a number of development and business tidbits. The company says its autonomous Waymo Driver platform has driven “more than 20 million miles on public roads across over 25 cities, and over 10 billion miles in simulation.” Waymo added that the company has already shipped its first batch of autonomous vehicles (which include electric vehicles and Class 8 trucks, according to the company) which include the company’s latest hardware.
The company also provided updates about Waymo One, its on-demand autonomous car service which currently operates in the state of Arizona. The service has already provided thousands of trips to locals “in a high-speed mixed usage market area larger than San Francisco.”
John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, revealed in a statement to Bloomberg, that, “Waymo wants to expand its driverless fleet to new locations”, mentioning the Middle East as one possibility, but he declined to share details. The company is also merging its local delivery and long-haul trucking operations into a single business line called Waymo Via. Waymo One is the ride-hailing service that the company operates in suburban Phoenix, Arizona and plans to expand to other cities.
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