Long the frontrunner of the race to market-ready autonomous vehicles, Waymo has prided itself on leveraging its cutting-edge lidar technology as an advantage over the competition. However, according to Tom Randall of Bloomberg News, this Google spin-off is engaging in a bold new approach to its core business strategy: Selling this technology to other companies.
If this sounds a little crazy to you, don't worry; you're not alone. After all, hearing that Waymo will sell a core piece of its business as a stand-alone product seems akin to Coca-Cola selling its proprietary ingredients to competitors at first glance.
Despite this initial shock, Randall goes on to report that reworking this stance on lidar actually makes quite a bit of sense for Waymo. Specifically, by offering this once closely-guarded technology as a standalone product, Waymo can generate some additional revenue and – perhaps even more importantly – reduce the cost of producing these sensors for itself via the scaling of its means of production.
Waymo has confirmed that in the wake of this announcement, dozens of potential customers have already come forward to negotiate the purchase of lidar technology from this industry leader.
The only caveat here for these suitors? If your company intends to leverage Waymo's lidar technology in your own endeavors, it can't be in direct competition with this Alphabet subsidiary's burgeoning robotaxi service, which currently operates in select cities across the country.
Will Waymo's bold decision to unleash its lidar technology to the masses cause a self-driving renaissance and pave the way for new players in this shared space between tech and automotive? What about the impact this move will have on Waymo's production costs, as well as the sales of Velodyne products, Waymo's closest competitor in the lidar field?
To answer these questions, and dig even deeper into this announcement, be sure to check out the full story from Bloomberg's Randall, via The Mercury News of San Jose, by clicking on the link offered up down below.