Citing a source with direct knowledge of the situation, The Information reported that the move has been supported by Alphabet‘s CFO Ruth Porat. However, while the funding would help limit costs, Waymo parent company Alphabet does not want to give up too much equity in the business.
An outside investment could also allow Alphabet to reveal Waymo’s valuation for the first time in years. That last time, Waymo was valued at $4.5 billion, though analysts said it could surpass a valuation as high as $175 billion, based on future revenue estimates.
Last October, the company announced it had been awarded the first permit in California to begin driverless testing on public roads.
“Fully driverless testing is the latest step in the path Waymo has been on since 2009, when we first began working on self-driving technology at Google. Since then, we’ve driven over 10 million autonomous miles on public roads across 25 cities. California will join our driverless testing program that’s already been happening in Phoenix, Arizona since last year,” the company wrote in a blog post at the time.
It was also reported in late January that Waymo has met with more than 12 carmakers in a bid to find manufacturing partners for its self-driving car technology.
Documents revealed that Waymo had considered Uber’s approach of featuring autonomous test cars with regular human drivers. “Introducing a mixed fleet can be a distraction to our business, and also training wheels that become harder to take off from a public and regulatory perspective (for example, regulators may force us to keep test drivers in vehicles indefinitely until we’ve driven x billions of miles),” the company wrote.