Waymo's challenges don't stop it from raising $2.5 billion


Waymo said Wednesday that the brand new funding got here from Alphabet, enterprise capital companies, sovereign wealth funds and auto business firms. Alphabet led the spherical, and the valuation was not disclosed. Waymo’s co-CEOs Tekedra Mawakana and Dmitri Dolgov, stated in a blog post that the funding could be used to increase the corporate’s workforce and enhance its know-how.
Waymo has labored to commercialize self-driving automobiles so long as anybody. It’s achieved loads of breakthroughs, equivalent to giving a ride to a passenger in 2015, earlier than opponents. It was additionally first to launch a self-driving ridehail service, which is lively right now in Chandler, Arizona.
But Waymo, like the whole self-driving business, has confronted no scarcity of challenges. Companies together with General Motors and Ford have missed their launch objectives and underwhelmed with results, and in a single occasion, a self-driving prototype made by Uber killed a pedestrian. (Uber has since sold off its self-driving automobile division.)
Last month a self-driving Waymo van was seen on video stranded on an Arizona street, after which drove away as a Waymo employee arrive to assist. The embarrassing incident spoke to the problem of creating self-driving autos that drive gracefully and reliably in all circumstances. The passenger within the Waymo van advised NCS Business that in case you actually have to be on time, you don’t take a Waymo but.

[[Waymo, like many self-driving companies, has shifted some of its focus to long-haul trucking, as autonomous vehicle experts say it’s much easier to drive on highways because there aren’t pedestrians, cyclists or crossing traffic.

Last week, Waymo announced a partnership with the trucking company JB Hunt to move goods between Houston and Fort Worth, Texas. Waymo has said it will do multiple runs over the coming weeks but hasn’t shared how many trucks will be involved. Waymo will have two workers on the truck, including one in the driver’s seat.

John Krafcik stepped down as Waymo’s CEO this spring after nearly six years at the company. He said he’d remain as an advisor to the company.

In 2018, Krafcik and Waymo struck a deal with Fiat Chrysler to add up to 62,000 Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo’s fleet. But that fleet today, three years later, remains at only 700 vehicles.