Google is reported to have spent over $1.1 billion dollars on its self-driving vehicle initiative, according to a report in IEEE’s trade publication. The mind-boggling number was discovered by reviewing discovery documents in the lawsuit between Uber and Google. The investment size, which has been kept in secret up until now, shows how bullish and serious the company is on developing driverless technology.
In fairness, considering that Google is generating nearly $100B of revenue per year, the amount paid out over six years doesn't seem that massive. Based on their most recent quarter, it takes the company less than a month of operating profits to pay for the entire project.
It also overshadows the amount of money that Uber paid for driverless truck startup, Otto back in 2016. In that deal, Uber paid $680 million for the Otto, which was a pre-revenue startup that was only six months old. Perhaps the biggest transaction in the driverless space would be Intel’s purchase of publicly traded Mobileye. The transaction, which was closed earlier this year valued the company at over $15B. The difference between Mobileye and the other investments in the space is that Mobileye already has commercial relationships with many of the manufacturers and fast growing revenues.
The amount of money and the shear number of companies investing in developing autonomous technology demonstrates the commitment companies have in playing a part towards ushering in driverless vehicles. Vast fortunes will certainly be made by whomever finds a way to make the technology commercial.