Ex-Google autonomous vehicle project borrows cash on its own

March 02, 2020 - 5:01 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google's former autonomous vehicle project is borrowing money on its own for the first time.

Waymo, which is developing autonomous ride-hailing vehicles and semis, will get the $2.25 billion from a group of investors. Analysts long have speculated that Google parent Alphabet has plans to spin Waymo off as a public company at some point.

Companies putting up the money include Alphabet as well as the Silver Lake and Mubadala and Andreessen Horowitz investment firms. Also included are Canadian auto parts maker Magna International, and AutoNation, the largest auto dealership chain in the U.S.

Magna has manufactured vehicles under contract for automakers in the past, which could be important as Waymo moves ahead with plans for a fully autonomous ride-hailing service. Currently the service is being tested in Phoenix and other areas.

CEO John Krafcik said in a statement that Waymo is adding investors and important strategic partners with the borrowing. “With this injection of capital and business acumen, alongside Alphabet, we’ll deepen our investment in our people, our technology, and our operations,” he said.

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