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Waymo’s Strategic Move Into Ride-Hailing With Waymo One

Waymo's Strategic Move Into Ride-Hailing With Waymo One

The News: Waymo, the autonomous driving technology company that is a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet Inc., has announced that the company has decided to focus its efforts and investment on Waymo One, the ride-hailing service it offers. This announcement comes 6 years after Waymo first tested its autonomous vehicle (AV) system in Class 8 trucks. The company emphasized the decision was driven by the commercial opportunities in applying its autonomous vehicle technology to ride-hailing. Read more on Waymo’s blog.

Waymo’s Strategic Move Into Ride-Hailing With Waymo One

Analyst Take: Waymo has announced that the company has decided to focus its efforts and investment on Waymo One, the ride-hailing service it offers. This announcement comes 6 years after Waymo first tested its AV system in Class 8 trucks. Waymo emphasized the decision was driven by the commercial opportunities in applying its autonomous vehicle technology to ride-hailing as Waymo is pushing forward state-of-the-art AI/machine learning (ML). Waymo One has seen significant business growth and rider demand in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. While Waymo formed partnerships and launched AV truck pilots, the company’s most public efforts were on the ride-hailing front. Waymo currently operates a commercial ride-hailing service known as Waymo One in Phoenix and its suburbs, including Scottsdale and Tempe. The Phoenix Waymo One service area, which once was limited to portions of a few suburbs, has continued to expand and in May 2023 doubled in size. Currently, Waymo One rides in San Francisco are free because Waymo is waiting for a final permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) allowing it to charge passengers.

With this strategic move, Waymo plans to push back the timeline for its commercial and operational efforts on trucking, as well as most of its technical development within that business unit. Waymo has said that it will continue collaborating with its strategic partner, Daimler Truck North America (DTNA), to advance technical development of DTNA’s autonomous-ready Freightliner Cascadia platform and exploring the potential of future platforms. Waymo added that both companies share the common goal of improving road safety and efficiency for fleet customers, so it will follow through with the platform investments it has made to create a redundant chassis to facilitate autonomous trucking. Waymo has ended other partnerships related to the trucking program, including ones with UPS and J.B. Hunt. The company is weighing options on what to do with a dedicated nine-acre trucking hub it built in 2021 in Dallas.

Waymo One

Waymo One is a public, fully autonomous ride-hailing service. Riders need to download the Waymo One app from the App Store or Google Play and create an account. Riders choose their destination, and Waymo One selects the safest spots to pick up and drop them off the rider 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Riders can easily identify their car by choosing two unique letters from the app that will appear on the car at pick-up. Waymo One will let riders know when their car is ready and can accommodate up to four passengers at a time. Riders unlock the door with the Waymo One app and buckle up, then hit Start Ride and follow along with what the Waymo Driver sees and the route it is taking on the passenger screen. While on the Waymo One ride, riders can add stops or change their destination at any time. In addition, riders can adjust the temperature and play their favorite music or podcasts from the in-car screen or from their phone. Waymo One consists of a fully electric fleet of Jaguar I-PACE vehicles, powered by 100% renewable energy, that feature spacious interiors that are meticulously cleaned on a daily basis.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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Author Information

Clint Wheelock

Clint brings over 20 years of market research and consulting experience, focused on emerging technology markets. He was co-founder and CEO of Dash Network, an integrated research and digital media firm focused on the CX market, which was acquired by The Futurum Group in 2022. He previously founded Tractica with a focus on human interaction with technology, including coverage of AI, user interface technologies, advanced computing, and other emerging sectors. Acquired by Informa Group, Clint served as Chief Research Officer for Informa’s research division, Omdia, with management and content strategy responsibility, formed by the combination of Tractica, Ovum, IHS Markit Technology, and Heavy Reading.
Clint was previously the founder and President of Pike Research, a leading market intelligence firm focused on the global clean technology industry, which was acquired by Navigant Consulting where he was Managing Director of the Navigant Research business.

Prior to Pike Research, Clint was Chief Research Officer at ABI Research, a New York-based industry analyst firm concentrating on the impact of emerging technologies on global consumer and business markets.

Clint holds a Master of Business Administration in Telecommunications Management from the University of Dallas and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Washington & Lee University.

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