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December 30, 2021

Accelerating mission velocity: Celebrating our progress in 2021

  • Company News
Tekedra and Dmitri, Waymo co-CEOs
Tekedra and Dmitri, Waymo co-CEOs

The most innovative technologies can only be built when teams are laser-focused on a common goal. This year, the hard work and determination of our teams resulted in huge strides towards Waymo’s mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going.

As we close the book on 2021, we celebrate Waymo’s biggest technical and commercial milestones—as well as our incredible team that drives this progress every day.

Growing our Waymo One and Waymo Via businesses

Waymo One: We’re now over a year into offering the world’s first commercial fully autonomous ride-hailing service—with no human driver behind the wheel—in Arizona. Over the last year, we’ve served tens of thousands of rider-only trips, providing a seamless, reliable, and accessible experience riders are making part of their everyday lives.

We’re also bringing this experience to more people in more places. In another first for the industry, Waymo began welcoming new riders in San Francisco, as part of our Trusted Tester program. Hundreds of riders are now using Waymo One in the city—from Lands End to Hunters Point and most of the city in between—and tens of thousands have signed up for our waitlist. While it’s easy to think that mostly tech enthusiasts are excited about making autonomous driving technology part of their daily lives, we are designing a service that reflects the diverse needs of the communities we serve—from rides to school and family outings to the work commute and everyday needs of a retiree.

We gain priceless experience from every ride we give in San Francisco and Arizona, which accelerate our technological and product advancement. Being the world’s first fully autonomous ride-hailing service and tapping into our innovator DNA, our UX team has completely reimagined the riding experience with autonomous driving in mind, enabling riders to stream their own music and podcasts in the car, make multiple stops in one trip, and in Phoenix hail a ride with just a tap through Google Maps, to help make Waymo One an even more delightful product. Not only are we transforming how people experience transportation, but we are reimagining what is possible with improved accessibility features such as on-screen reader support, a horn honk button and audio cues for wayfinding, chat-based rider support, and in-app walking directions.

We announced our plans to expand the Waymo One fleet with Geely’s all-electric vehicle designed for riders first. We will integrate our Waymo Driver into a version of the new mobility-focused Zeekr vehicle, designed specially for autonomous ride-hailing.

Waymo Via: This year, we also made significant strides in expanding Waymo Via’s highway freight-carrying and local delivery capabilities.

We entered into a strategic collaboration with J.B. Hunt and expanded our UPS delivery partnership to include Class-8 trucks—hauling freight on behalf of both partners in Texas. Waymo Via delivered freight safely and 100% on time. To support our growing delivery operations, we kicked off a partnership with Ryder to help manage our fleets, ensuring we provide a highly reliable, scalable service for our Waymo Via partners.

In local delivery, we signed our first end-to-end grocery delivery partnership with Albertsons, one of North America’s largest supermarket chains, and will begin autonomously delivering groceries from one of their Safeways stores to San Francisco residents next year. We’re also proud that we’re continuing to make our Waymo Via fleet available for charitable deliveries, supporting the communities that support us.

Strengthening our technical foundations

This year, we continued strengthening and maturing our autonomous driving technology — the fifth-generation Waymo Driver — designed to scale across multiple geographies, vehicle types, and use cases.

In this time, we expanded our testing in San Francisco and grew our fleet of all-electric Jaguar I-PACEs, validating our system's performance in complex environments and introducing it to two iconic American cities—the sun-kissed boulevards of Los Angeles and the wintry streets of New York City.

Of course, while the vast majority of our technological core transfers across our various vehicle platforms, there are important differences between driving a trailer-truck and a passenger vehicle. This year, we received from Daimler Trucks the first Freightliner Cascadia trucks, which we collaboratively engineered for autonomous operations, and our team equipped the truck with the fifth generation of the Waymo Driver. This is the first trucking platform with sufficient redundancy for fully autonomous operations.

We're driven by a mission to make our roads safer, and continue to demonstrate how our Waymo Driver can make a difference. In March, we released the results of a study evaluating how a simulated version of the Waymo Driver would have performed in historic fatal crashes in our Arizona operating domain—and found that it avoided almost every single crash entirely. To encourage more research and help further showcase the safety benefits of autonomous driving technology, we published one of the highest-quality datasets for research into motion forecasting, adding it to the existing Waymo Open Dataset.

Growing our team and looking ahead

Everything we’ve accomplished to date is only possible thanks to our incredible team.

For our growing team, we expanded our footprint with new offices in Mountain View and San Francisco —where our employees can commute with Waymo One—and a new trucking operations center in Dallas. We also opened new doors at our closed-course testing facility in East Liberty, Ohio, and an engineering office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

None of this would be possible without the support of our world-class investors, who we've been humbled to raise over $5.75 billion from over the past two years, to accelerate our mission with their confidence and backing. With it, we'll continue to delight our riders in Arizona, scale our offerings in San Francisco, and ramp up our work with fleets, carriers, and local delivery. We also look forward to coming together more in-person as we continue our return to the office.

Thanks to all the Waymonauts and our partners who have made this year possible—and who continue to help us accelerate our mission velocity to make mobility safer, more accessible, and more equitable.