The world’s largest tech company is getting into the DIY business.
In a bid to build its own self-driving car, Alphabet has bought a startup that makes self-contained autonomous vehicles and will soon start building one.
Alphabet’s acquisition of Waymo, the makers of the popular ride-hailing app Lyft, signals an effort to expand the scope of the company’s ambitions.
“It’s kind of the next chapter of Google’s mission to build the best self-serve technology on the planet,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai, speaking at the company “Google I/O” conference.
Alphabet is building the car and its self-sustaining systems, which include software to navigate, park and take photos.
The car, which is being built at Alphabet’s own Sunnyvale, California, headquarters, is being dubbed the Waymo Car.
Alphabet has said it plans to use the cars to ferry people and packages.
Waymo is owned by Google.
Alphabet owns the car’s batteries and software.
Alphabet will invest $5 billion in Waymo over the next five years to help build the vehicles, which will cost about $50 million apiece, said a person familiar with the matter.
Alphabet says the Waymos cars are the first of a new line of products it plans that will be sold under Alphabet’s Alphabet brand.
Alphabet announced plans to invest $6 billion in Lyft, the popular online ride-sharing service.
The company is also developing a self-flying plane called XCOR Aerospace, the person said.
Alphabet did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Alphabet was one of several tech companies that sued Google for trademark infringement in the US after the search giant acquired the smartphone maker Motorola Mobility in 2012.
The case has dragged on for years and was eventually settled in 2015, when Google agreed to pay Motorola $13.5 billion for a trove of Motorola patents.
Alphabet, which makes a variety of Internet services, including voice and video calling and cloud storage, has been seeking to extend its reach into the home.
Alphabet said its latest investment will make Waymo the second-largest autonomous vehicle maker in the world, behind a $5.2 billion investment by Ford.
Google’s latest investment is an effort by Alphabet to take on some of the work of the big car makers.
The Alphabet-owned Waymo plans to build cars that can drive themselves and have their own internal systems, Google said.
The cars will be designed for self-service and will be autonomous, it said.
“The cars will use our technology to drive themselves to and from destinations, and they will be capable of delivering packages or people to places in the same way that a car is capable of.”
Alphabet has also partnered with the Ford company to build electric cars, according to a person who has direct knowledge of the partnership.
Alphabet also is investing $1 billion in a company that builds self-sealing packages, and the company plans to make the package-delivery technology it is using commercially available, the source said.
Google is also building self-storage for the self-powered cars, the technology is expected to be available within a year.
Alphabet acquired Waymo in July 2016 for about $3.5 million.
Google bought Waymo for $6.2 million in cash and stock in 2016, but in March 2017 the company announced that it was cutting ties with the company and had shut down the company.
The decision to shut down Waymo was a surprise to many, because the company had been working to develop a self, and car, that could be self-driven.
Alphabet had hoped to get a $6-billion valuation for the company, which was valued at about $1.5 trillion at the time.
Waymox is also being used to develop self-balancing robots for the home, Google’s acquisition said.