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"Our Waymo cars don't cost more than a Mercedes S-Class": Waymo boss John Krafcik on the plans with Google's robot cars


While car manufacturers are investing less in autonomous driving, the Google spin-off Waymo is driving everyone away. CEO John Krafcik explains how he wants to turn it into a profitable business and what he thinks of Tesla.

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Mr Robot:

 Waymo CEO 

John Krafcik 

is chauffeured to the office in a self-driving van in the morning.

The ex-Ford manager has remained a private car fanatic: there are three Porsches in his garage.

Photo: Timothy Archibald / DER SPIEGEL

The Google spin-off Waymo has outgrown all rivals in autonomous driving.

John Krafcik

(59), ex-head of Hyundai in the USA and once also in the service of Ford, is to turn the research object into a billion-dollar business.

The commitment is gigantic: In spring 2020, investors gave him $ 3.25 billion, probably the largest venture capital financing that a company with no sales has ever received.

In October, Krafcik launched the first commercial robotic taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona.

The CEO in the gray Waymo hoodie conducts the interview with manager magazin via video call from home.

He lives near corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California.

He speaks of his robotic driving system like a chauffeur - he just calls it the "Waymo driver".

manager magazin: John, have the people in Phoenix got used to being overtaken by cars without passengers?

John Krafcik:

Some are frightened at first.

But many don't even notice.

We have been driving in Phoenix for over three years.

Waymo cars have long been part of everyday life.

If nobody is sitting in the front anymore, it is not so noticeable.

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Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-01-22

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