Mountain View (dpa) - The robot car specialist Waymo wants to fuel his growth plans with a financial injection in the billions.
The Google sister company raised $ 2.25 billion from investors. It is Waymo's first round of financing with outside donors. Among them are the contract manufacturer Magna, financial investors such as Silver Lake and the Google umbrella group Alphabet.
Google's robot car range was absorbed into Waymo - and the company is considered to be particularly advanced 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 its Via freight service, which is supposed to transport goods with self-driving semitrailers and delivery vans.
Company boss John Krafcik confirmed in a blog entry the goal "to develop the most experienced driver in the world". At the same time, automakers, suppliers, various start-ups and technology heavyweights like Apple are currently working on software for autonomous driving.
At first, it was not known how high Waymo was valued in the financing round - and what share of the company Alphabet therefore ceded to the donors. Silicon Valley website "The Information" reported 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.
Others in the business have also secured billions. Cruise, the robot car company owned by the car company 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 maker 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.
Waymo blog entry