Waymo announced that it has raised a $2.5 billion investment round on Wednesday from a variety of investors including Alphabet itself, Andreessen Horowitz, AutoNation, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Silver Lake and many others.
The self-driving specialist said the funding would be used to develop its autonomous driving technology as well as expanding its team.
The latest funding round comes after Waymo previously raised $2.25 billion in its first external funding round in March 2020.
This new investment will be useful as Waymo had shut down all its ride-hailing services in early 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but began offering rides again as of 8 October 2020.
This came after the firm fitted its cars with barriers between the driver and passenger area as a safety barrier. Backup drivers are still used in expanded routes.
The fully driverless taxi option is limited to a mostly residential area that includes the Phoenix suburbs of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe.
Waymo’s intention for years has been to offer a commercial fully driverless ride-hailing service to the general public.
“With tens of millions of miles driven on public roads across 25 US cities, and tens of billions of miles driven in simulation, our experience has shown us, and our investors, the massive opportunity ahead,” said the firm. “We’re building and deploying the Waymo Driver to serve riders, deliver parcels, move freight, and eventually, to empower personal car ownership.”
It said that it was first company to operate a fully autonomous, public ride-hailing service – Waymo One, and it has served thousands of rider-only trips in Metro Phoenix.
It has also been driving in San Francisco and the Bay Area since it first started in 2009.
It is also exploring the autonomous movement of freight cross country via its delivery business unit, Waymo Via.