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Alphabet (GOOGL) Bolsters Waymo Efforts With Latest Move (Revised)

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Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) self-driving unit Waymo, which has been running well on the streets of San Francisco, CA on the back of its Early Rider program called Trusted Tester, has now applied for a final permit in California at the California Public Utilities Commission.

With the help of this final permit, Waymo will be able to sell its self-driving car rides in San Francisco.

Notably, the latest application by Waymo might take months to get approved.

The latest move bodes well for the company’s deepening focus on making its autonomous vehicles popular in San Francisco.

Recently, Waymo started welcoming people to hail a ride in a self-driving Jaguar I-Pace. Booking for pickups is available via the Waymo One app.

Waymo’s arrival in San Francisco marks its very first expansion outside Phoenix, AZ.

Expanding Waymo Efforts

The recent step is in sync with the company’s strengthening efforts toward expanding its operations and fleet and making the vehicles more rider-friendly.

The company is also gearing up to make its ride-hailing vehicles fully driverless on the streets of San Francisco.

Further, Waymo in Bellevue marks Alphabet’s second Waymo expansion outside Phoenix, AZ.

Waymo launched a rider-only service in downtown Phoenix, where it has been operating its autonomous vehicles with a company specialist seated in the driver's seat until now. The service in downtown Phoenix will be confined to a specific area, which is constrained by Interstate 17 on the west and south, Camelback Road on the north and 44th Street on the east.

Waymo plans to roll out the driverless robotaxi service to regular passengers and expand its operating area eventually in downtown Phoenix.

Apart from these efforts, Alphabet’s partnership with Geely, a China-based automotive company, remains noteworthy. Per the terms of the deal, Geely’s electric mobility brand, Zeekr, will design and develop electric vehicles for Waymo, into which Waymo Driver will be integrated.

The vehicles will be introduced on the roads of the United States first. With the Geely partnership, Waymo will expand its Waymo One fleet.

The above-mentioned endeavors will help Alphabet further penetrate the booming autonomous driving space.

According to a Fortune Business Insights report, the global autonomous car market is expected to reach $11.03 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 31.3% between 2021 and 2028.

Per a report by Mordor Intelligence, the worldwide driverless vehicle market is expected to see a CAGR of 18.06% between 2021 and 2026.

We believe that Alphabet’s growing prospects in this promising market will help it win investors’ confidence in the days ahead.

Coming to the price performance, Alphabet has lost 37.3% on a year-to-date basis against the industry’s decline of 36.5%.

Intensifying Competition

However, Alphabet which currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), faces stiff competition from the companies like Intel (INTC - Free Report) , Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) and Baidu (BIDU - Free Report) . These are also making every effort to capitalize on the growth prospects in the autonomous driving space.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Intel is gaining from the low power consumption of Mobileye chips and the ability to create maps for self-driving systems. The company plans to introduce a pilot program for autonomous taxis and ride-hailing services in Munich and Tel Aviv in 2022.

In April 2022, the company gave a sneak peek at its robotaxi ride by rolling out a video of a 40-minute autonomous car ride around Jerusalem.

In addition to this, Mobileye’s partnership with German electric mobility unit Benteler EV Systems and Beep to develop and deploy self-driving, fully electric shuttles in the United States by 2024 remains noteworthy.

Amazon’s buyout of Zoox, a developer of autonomous ride-hailing vehicles, remains a major positive. The company’s launch of its first self-driving robotaxi strengthened its position in the autonomous driving space. Zoox also operates an engineering office and operations facility in Seattle. The facility acts as a base for its autonomous vehicle testing.

Currently, the company is gearing up to test its robotaxi in California. It has applied for a permit in California to test-drive its vehicles.

Meanwhile, Baidu is gaining from the strong momentum of Apollo Go Robotaxi service across China on the back of its increasing availability in several cities and a growing number of rides.

Apollo Go is available in 10 cities, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Changsha, Cangzhou, Yangquan, Wuzhen Water Town and Wuhan.

(We are reissuing this article to correct a mistake. The original article, issued on December 14, 2022, should no longer be relied upon.)

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