Founded in 2009, Waymo is focused on developing autonomous driving technology. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California. Waymo is part of Alphabet Inc., the parent organization that also owns Google. Waymo has a simple mission of making it easier for people to travel from point A to point B. Waymo is also helping organizations to reduce operation cost by automating the movement of goods.
As of now, Waymo operates self-driving taxis in locations such as Arizona, Phoenix and San Francisco. It is available for use to the general public as well. Waymo is the only company to offer fully autonomous taxi service that does not need a backup driver.
Waymo also works with other entities to develop autonomous tech for other types of vehicles such as tractor trailers and delivery vans. Waymo has collaborations with several of the leading automobile manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, Nissan-Renault, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover and Geely.
Waymo’s origins can be traced back to 2009, when a project to develop self-driving tech was launched at Google X lab. It was a complex project, involving detailed maps, advanced hardware and data received from satellites. A total of 100 Toyota Prius cars were purchased for the project and the hardware called Topcon box was mounted on the roof of each of these cars.
For almost two years, Waymo operated a fleet of autonomous cars in a discreet manner. This was done because public knowledge about autonomous cars on the streets would have attracted unwanted attention from the public. The test cars could also have become a target for anti-social elements. The news became public, when the New York Times revealed the story of the self-driving cars being tested by Waymo.
While the autonomous project was launched in 2009, the brand name Waymo was adopted only in 2016. It was part of organizational restructuring, whereupon Waymo acquired a distinct corporate identity.
Waymo has received investments worth $5.5 billion via three rounds of funding. While being a subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc., Waymo has raised capital from outside sources as well. Some of the key investors include Fidelity Management and Research Company, Perry Creek Capital, T. Rowe Price, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Mubadala Capital Ventures and Silver Lake.
Waymo had acquired Latent Logic in 2019. The UK-based company was focused on developing deep learning technology for autonomous cars.
Waymo competes with the likes of Aurora Innovation, Inc., Cruise LLC, Zoox, Pony and Tesla.
About the Founders
At Google X lab, the project to develop autonomous self-driving cars was headed by Sebastian Thrun and Anthony Levandowski. As of now, Waymo is commanded by Tekedra Mawakana and Dmitri Dolgov. They serve as the Co-Chief Executive Officers of the company.
Tekedra manages overall company strategy, with special focus on the Waymo Driver, the company’s transformational technology. Prior to Waymo, Tekedra had worked with Yahoo, eBay, AOL and Startec.
Co-CEO Dmitri Dolgov looks after overall company strategy, while also focusing on development and deployment of the Waymo Driver. Prior to Waymo, Dmitri had worked with Toyota. He was also part of Stanford’s DARPA Urban Challenge team.