Waymo closes with $2.25 billion in first external funding round

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Image: Supplied/Google

Alphabet’s self-driving car company, Waymo, has announced that its initial external funding round has closed with $2.25 billion.

The company’s first external investment round was led by Silver Lake, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Mubadala Investment Company, with additional investors including Magna International, Andreessen Horowitz, and AutoNation, as well as Alphabet.

“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,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said.

Earlier this year, Waymo signed a deal with UPS to jointly launch a pilot program to test autonomous vehicle package pickups in the Phoenix, Arizona area. 

As part of the pilot, Waymo’s Chrysler Pacifica minivans deliver packages from UPS Store locations to a local UPS sorting facility. The minivans then drive autonomously with a Waymo-trained driver on board to monitor operations.

While Waymo Driver is just a pilot, Waymo aims to develop a long-term partnership plan with its investors around the project. 

See also: Interacting with cars: What’s on the horizon?  

The closing of the funding round follows on from Waymo’s partnership with Renault and Nissan to research how self-driving vehicles may be used commercially for passengers and deliveries in France and Japan.

The companies are currently undergoing an “initial period” of assessing market opportunities and researching commercial, legal, and regulatory issues related to the viability of providing driverless transportation-as-a-service offerings in the two countries. The research was initially conducted in France and Japan, home to Renault and Nissan’s headquarters, respectively, with the partnership having plans to potentially expand to other markets, excluding China, in the future.

Waymo launched its first commercial self-driving car service in December 2018, with the service currently available in Arizona.  

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