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Last year around this time, I found myself on a racetrack in Hockenheim, Germany, at Formula Student Germany as a student on the MIT/Delft team. Formula Student is an international design competition, where students with various backgrounds, ranging from mechanical and software engineering to finance and marketing, join forces to design, build, and race a prototype self-driving racecar. This project was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life; seeing an idea transform from a concept pitch and a system architecture diagram to a car driving itself on a racetrack in Germany was extremely rewarding, but by no means easy.
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Back in 2016, we announced our very first OEM partner: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Since then, we’ve worked closely with FCA to integrate our Waymo Driver into FCA vehicles, and together we’ve made self-driving history in the proven, capable, L4-ready Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, including launching the first commercial autonomous ride-hailing service, beginning to offer fully driverless service to our riders, and driving in dozens of cities across diverse geographies and challenging weather conditions. Now, we’re pleased to share that we’ve strengthened our partnership with FCA in several important ways.
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In March 2020, we launched the Waymo Open Dataset Challenges, inviting researchers to build and test their machine learning models using Waymo’s diverse self-driving dataset. We received over 100 submissions from around the world and invited the winners to present their work at our virtual Workshop on Scalability in Autonomous Driving at CVPR 2020. Today, we are excited to introduce some of the winners and their learnings.
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On the path to building the World’s Most Experienced Driver, we partner with some of the world’s largest automakers to realize our mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going. We focus on custom designing our hardware suite, software, and compute. We then collaborate with carmakers, leveraging their expertise in automotive design, engineering, and manufacturing, to help us create vehicles that integrate easily with the Waymo Driver, making them well-suited for ride hailing, local delivery, trucking, and personal car ownership. That’s why we’re pleased to share today our latest automotive partnership.
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June marks LGBTQ+ Pride Month, an annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer identities, relationships, and allyship. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to celebrate Pride -- it means something different to each individual. Some view it as a holiday and many of us use Pride to focus on the work that still needs to be done. At Waymo, we will celebrate Pride in several ways throughout the month and also carry it with us throughout the year, led by our LGTBQ employee resource group (ERG), the Rainbownauts.
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One of the key qualities of a good driver is being able to anticipate and predict what others on the road might do. For example, what is the probability of another car merging into our lane or the cyclist in front of us making a left turn? The ability to accurately predict the intentions of other road users allows the Waymo Driver to make the safest possible decisions.
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Waymo has closed an extension of the financing round announced on March 2, in which funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Perry Creek Capital, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and other external investors participated, bringing the total size of the round to $3 billion.
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