Google’s parent company Alphabet made a wide variety of bets in the transportation and mobility segment in recent times and is poised to continue with such investments moving forward as part of its diversification efforts. Following reports that the conglomerate invested in electric scooter rental startup Lime, many industry watchers started speculating that Alphabet will have a major role in the future of mobility solutions regardless of the form such technologies end up taking. Its investment vehicles Gradient, Google Ventures, and CapitalG have so far taken stakes in Uber, Lyft, Scotty Labs, SpaceX, and GoJek, hence committing to everything from self-driving hardware and software to ride-hailing services, bike rentals, and rockets.
Simultaneously with those bets, Alphabet is overseeing Google spin-off Waymo that’s presently widely believed to be leading the autonomous driving race, having developed some of the world’s most advanced artificial intelligence solutions for driverless cars. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin personally backed transportation startups as well, with the former investing in flying car company Kitty Hawk, whereas the latter is said to be working on a massive secret airship. Alphabet’s growing focus on mobility has yet to be presented as such to investors, with the conglomerate still stating it’s primarily looking to invest in any promising new technologies regardless of the industry from which they end up emerging, though a clear investment pattern has been observable in recent years.
Waymo continues to test its self-driving fleet in Arizona, still with the goal of commercializing an autonomous ride-hailing network in the near future. Slow legislation remains one of industry’s biggest challenges and a federal framework regulating commercial self-driving solutions is likely years away. Waymo repeatedly signaled it’s also interested in bringing its driverless service to Europe shortly following its official U.S. launch, suggesting it will most likely partner with at least one major automaker in order to do so effectively.