Waymo CEO to Automakers: Your Future Is Tied to Us

Alphabet’s Waymo division sits on top of the nascent self-driving car industry in terms of reputation, experience and talent. Yet in an interview with The Information, Waymo CEO John Krafcik seemed determined to broadcast to the traditional car industry that he isn’t the enemy. In fact, he says, Waymo can be car makers’ salvation as autonomous technology creates new sources of revenue beyond sales of individual automobiles.

But to thrive in the future world of autonomous vehicles, Mr. Krafcik says car makers will need to embrace a different business model. In his view, that means changing everything car makers do. It means not worrying about how many cars they sell every quarter but instead how much money they can get from those cars after they are produced. It also means allowing a partner like Waymo to do the heavy lifting of getting the cars to drive themselves and attracting passengers to a robo taxi service.

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Mr. Krafcik firmly believes that self-driving systems won’t be standardized like other safety systems such as automatic emergency brakes. “There will be certain tools that consumers will have access to that give them the sense of which self-driving technologies companies are delivering the best quality of safety,” he said. “Those are going to take on a massive level of importance.”

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