Waymo, the self driving unit of Google Raised Funding of $2.25 Bn- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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The self driving unit of Alphabet, Waymo, said that it has raised $2.25 billion in its first external investment round, and is also expecting to on board outside investors. Waymo was founded 11 years ago as a small project inside Google, and is now considered as the leader in developing self driving technology.
Investors from outside would help Waymo be more disciplined as per Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat. Other than Alphabet, initial investors include auto parts supplier Magna International. Waymo had an assembly deal with the same. AutoNation, US dealership chain, that services and maintains Waymo’s vehicles and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Also three large investment firms, Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz, and Mubdala Investment. 
An amount of $50 million was being invested by AutoNation. However, as of now, Waymo didn’t provide a valuation yet. Last year in September, Morgan Stanley, the investment bank has slashed its projected valuation of Waymo to $105 billion, from its earlier estimate of $175 million.
However, it is noted that Waymo is planning to offer a range of self-driving transportation services, through its Waymo One ride-hailing business in Phoenix, via the new Waymo Via logistics business that would be bundling long and long-haul delivery.
Waymo had earlier partnered with Lyft Inc. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover is considering partnerships with other automakers and transportation service providers in markets outside that of North America, but no details have been provided yet. 

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UPS inks electric van deal with Arrival to test Waymo automation – Strategy- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

United Parcel Service said on Wednesday it was ordering 10,000 electric delivery trucks from UK-based Arrival Ltd and teaming with self-driving startup Waymo as the package carrier works to cut costs and tailpipe pollution.
The UPS/Arrival partnership includes a minority investment from the world’s biggest package delivery firm and lands four months after customer-turned-rival Amazon ordered 100,000 electric vans from Rivian, a Michigan startup partially funded by the world’s largest online retailer.
UPS said a six-month test run with Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, would start next month.
UPS will pay Waymo to use autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans to shuttle packages from Phoenix UPS stores to a nearby sorting centre several times a day, starting with one route.
The Arrival and Waymo projects “will help us continue to push the envelope on technology and new delivery models that can complement the way our drivers work,” said Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer at UPS.
Financial terms were not disclosed for either deal.
Amazon’s growing delivery network is putting pressure on UPS and rival FedEx Corp, which are racing to squeeze more profits from surging e-commerce deliveries that are upending their business models.
Electric vehicles have no tailpipe pollution – which is critical as more cities worldwide crack down on emissions from idling delivery vehicles. Broad corporate adoption of electric vehicles could cut sticker prices and make them cheaper to operate and maintain than fossil fuel-burning vehicles. Eventually, removing human drivers might cut costs further.
Perez said the Waymo test would not replace the driver on the affected route. That driver will still make the scheduled daily UPS Store stop.
For Waymo, UPS counts as the latest in a series of moves to expand use of its robotic “Waymo Driver” system beyond robo-taxis.
Waymo recently expanded testing of its autonomous trucks and vans to Texas and New Mexico. Waymo also has extended a deal with vehicle retail chain AutoNation to deliver parts to Phoenix-area stores. AutoNation in turn services Waymo vehicles.
Atlanta-based UPS plans to take ownership of all 10,000 Arrival zero-emission electric vehicles by 2025. The first trucks should hit streets in Paris, London and undisclosed US cities in the second half of this year.
Executives from Arrival and UPS said the trucks had a modular “skateboard platform” that allows users to customise vehicles with swappable parts that reduce production and maintenance costs.

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Waymo and UPS team up for self-driving package delivery – Blog – 10 minute

Forward-looking: UPS and Waymo have announced a partnership that allows UPS to dip its toes into autonomous deliveries. The company thinks that Waymo’s driverless tech can transform how it delivers packages. While UPS isn’t the only company looking to leverage self-driving cars, this partnership is yet another stepping stone to a future where both packages and people can be transported without a driver.
Waymo, the Google subsidiary best known for its self-driving cars, is teaming up with UPS for a limited package delivery pilot program. The program involves Waymo’s Chrysler Pacifica minivans delivering packages from UPS stores to sorting facilities within Phoenix, AZ. The minivans will not deliver to people.
“UPS and Waymo are exploring automated and autonomous technologies to enhance network operations,” said Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer. “Getting packages to our sortation facilities sooner and more frequently, while also creating an opportunity for later drop-offs for next-day service, can add enormous value for our customers.”
Waymo already operates a Level 4 autonomous driving fleet in Phoenix that is completely driver-less. However, the vans that are shuttling packages between UPS locations will still have a safety driver. UPS says the primary goal is to “explore how autonomous ground vehicles improve customer service and network efficiency”. That said, the company did not rule out any long term partnership if the pilot goes well.
The partnership isn’t exclusive to UPS, however.
Waymo already has a fleet of autonomous semi-trucks for freight delivery and regularly makes deliveries for auto retailer AutoNation. Furthermore, both UPS and the United States Postal Services piloted autonomous mail trucks last year via self-driving startup TuSimple.

Autonomous cars seem to be getting better and more sophisticated. Just a few days ago, we reported that Uber is bringing its self-driving cars to Washington, D.C. Although, unlike other cities deployments, Uber’s cars in D.C. will be manually driven.
The slower, methodical approach is probably better considering the controversy over Uber allegedly using Waymo’s technology. Regardless, a future in which packages and people are transported without a driver is coming fast.

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Watch a Waymo self-driving car test its sensors in a haboob – gpgmail


Waymo, the self-driving car company under Alphabet, has been testing in the suburbs of Phoenix for several years now. And while the sunny metropolis might seem like the ideal and easiest location to test autonomous vehicle technology, there are times when the desert becomes a dangerous place for any driver — human or computer.

The two big safety concerns in this desert region are sudden downpours that cause flash floods and haboobs, giant walls of dust between 1,500 and 3,000 feet high that can cover up to 100 square miles. One record-breaking haboob in July 2011 covered the entire Phoenix valley, an area of more than 517 square miles.

Waymo released Friday a blog post that included two videos showing how the sensors on its self-driving vehicles detect and recognize objects while navigating through a haboob in Phoenix and fog in San Francisco. The vehicle in Phoenix was manually driven, while the one in the fog video was in autonomous mode.

The point of the videos, Waymo says, is to show how, and if, the vehicles recognize objects during these extreme low visibility moments. And they do. The haboob video shows how its sensors work to identify a pedestrian crossing a street with little to no visibility.

Waymo uses a combination of lidar, radar and cameras to detect and identify objects. Fog, rain or dust can limit visibility in all or some of these sensors.

Waymo doesn’t silo the sensors affected by a particular weather event. Instead, it continues to take in data from all the sensors, even those that don’t function as well in fog or dust, and uses that collective information to better identify objects.

The potential is for autonomous vehicles to improve on visibility, one of the greatest performance limitations of humans, Debbie Hersman, Waymo’s chief safety officer wrote in the blog post. If Waymo or other AV companies are successful, they could help reduce one of the leading contributors to crashes. The Department of Transportation estimates that weather contributes to 21% of the annual U.S. crashes.

Still, there are times when even an autonomous vehicle doesn’t belong on the road. It’s critical for any company planning to deploy AVs to have a system that can not only identify, but also take the safest action if conditions worsen.

Waymo vehicles are designed to automatically detect sudden extreme weather changes, such as a snowstorm, that could impact the ability of a human or an AV to drive safely, according to Hersman.

The question is what happens next. Humans are supposed to pull over off the road during a haboob and turn off the vehicle, a similar action when one encounters heavy fog.  Waymo’s self-driving vehicles will do the same if weather conditions deteriorate to the point that the company believes it would affect the safe operation of its cars, Hersman wrote.

The videos and blog post are the latest effort by Waymo to showcase how and where it’s testing. The company announced August 20 that it has started testing how its sensors handle heavy rain in Florida. The move to Florida will focus on data collection and testing sensors; the vehicles will be manually driven for now.

Waymo also tests (or has tested) its technology in and around Mountain View, Calif., Novi, Mich., Kirkland, Wash. and San Francisco. The bulk of the company’s activities have been in suburbs of Phoenix  and around Mountain View.


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Waymo self-driving cars head to Florida for rainy season – gpgmail


Waymo is taking some of its autonomous vehicles to Florida just in time for hurricane season to begin testing in heavy rain.

The move to Florida will focus on testing how its myriad of sensors hold up during the region’s rainy season as well as to collect data. All of the vehicles will be manually driven by trained drivers.

Waymo will bring both of its autonomous vehicles, the Chrysler Pacificas and a Jaguar I-Pace, to Naples and Miami, Florida for testing, according to a blog posted Tuesday. Miami is one of the wettest cities in the U.S., averaging 61.9 inches of rain annually.

The self-driving car company, which is a business under Alphabet, began testing its autonomous vehicles in and around Mountain View, Calif., before branching out to other cities and weather, including Novi, Michigan, Kirkland, Washington and San Francisco. But the bulk of the company’s activities have been in suburbs of Phoenix and around Mountain View — two places with lots of sun, and even blowing dust, in the case of Phoenix.

Waymo opened a technical center Chandler, Ariz. and started testing there in 2016. Since then the company has ramped up its testing and launched an early rider program in April 2017 as a step toward commercial deployment.

The company will spend the next several weeks driving on a closed course in Naples to test its sensor suite , which includes lidar, cameras and radar . Later in the month, Waymo plans to bring its vehicles to public roads in Miami. A few Waymo vehicles will be collecting data on highways between Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers and Miami.

Waymo is hardly the only autonomous vehicle company to take advantage of Florida’s AV friendly regulations. Ford and Argo AI, the self-driving company it backs, have had a presence in the Miami since early 2018. Argo AI began collecting data and mapping and has since expanded to testing in autonomous mode last summer.

Last year, Ford partnered with Walmart and Postmates to test the business of delivering goods like groceries and pet food using self-driving vehicles. The pilot project is focused on Miami-Dade County.

Self-driving trucks startup Starsky Robotics also is testing in Florida.


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