The effort—including paying hundreds of engineers for years of work—is not cheap. Nor is the output. Numbers are scarce here: In 2012, the company said its vehicles required about $150,000 worth of specialized equipment. In 2017, Waymo reported it had dropped the price of its lidar by 90 percent, to about $7,500. So the drive to reduce costs—especially for vehicles meant for the not-necessarily-lucrative taxi and delivery business—is easy to understand. This week, Waymo announced its first external investment, a $2.25 billion round led by Silver Lake, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and the Mubadala Investment Company. Until this round, Waymo was funded by its parent company, Alphabet.
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