Robot car company Waymo collects billions

DThe robot car company Waymo wants to support its growth plans with a billion dollar injection. The Google sister company raised $ 2.25 billion from investors for this purpose.

This was Waymo’s first round of financing with outside donors. These include the contract manufacturer Magna, financial investors such as Silver Lake and the Google parent company Alphabet.

Google’s robot car program was once part of Waymo – and the company is considered to be particularly far in the development of systems for autonomous driving. Waymo is experimenting with a Robotaxi service in Arizona and would like to supply automakers with its robot car technology. On Monday, Waymo also presented the Via freight service, which is supposed to transport goods with self-driving semitrailers and delivery vans.

Is there a sale in the end?

Company boss John Krafcik confirmed in a blog entry the goal of “developing the most experienced driver in the world”. At the same time, traditional automobile manufacturers, suppliers, start-ups and other tech companies such as Apple are currently working on software for autonomous driving.

At first, it was not known how high Waymo was valued in this round of financing, and how much Alphabet was therefore going to donors. Silicon Valley website “The Information” reports that Waymo managers had previously raised an overall valuation of at least $ 50 billion. “The Information” wrote a year ago that Alphabet was looking for outside investors for Waymo because the company would cost the group about $ 1 billion a year.

CEO Krafcik described the external cash injection at an investor conference on Monday as part of an “evolutionary path we always imagined” that could lead to “more independence” for Waymo. However, he declined to confirm whether Alphabet was planning to sell or split Waymo. But this is “certainly an opportunity for the future”.

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Others in the business have also secured billions. Cruise, the robot car company owned by the car manufacturer General Motors, already agreed in 2018 to inject $ 2.25 billion from the investment fund of the Japanese technology group Softbank and another $ 2.75 billion from the car manufacturer Honda. Last year, financial investors put another $ 1.15 billion in it.

Alphabet has so far made no official statements about the Waymo business. The company is always brought together in quarterly reports with other projects such as balloons with antennas for Internet access or delivery drones. These “other bets” have been known for low sales and high losses, while Google is making the money. Alphabet had repeatedly stressed that the experimental projects had to be kept under control.

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