Waymo, Google’s former self-driving car project, now an independent business entity under Alphabet, is expanding its presence in the eastern US. In Steel City.
A source familiar with the move told ClearTips, the company will begin by hiring about a dozen engineers, and they will co-locate at Google’s existing offices in the Bakery Square district. As of Thursday, Waymo’s website listed only three open positions for the Pittsburgh area, but the company is adding more roles soon.
Some of the new team will come from Pittsburgh-based Robotvits, a tech startup focused on autonomous vehicle decision-making. This includes Robotvits founder and CEO Maxim Likhachev and other members of its engineering and technical team. While Waymo didn’t technically acquire the startup, it did acquire the IP rights to Robotics, the source said.
The source said there are no current plans to deploy the so-called Waymo Driver, its autonomous driving platform, in Pittsburgh. Instead, the new team will work on motion planning development, real-time route planning and developing drivers. So far, the driver has seen deployment in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area. Its Waymo Via Trucking and Cargo service will be deployed in a test run with trucking logistics company JB Hunt Transportation Services in Texas.
AV tech rivals Aurora, Motional, Argo AI have already set up offices in the city; Together with talent at Carnegie Mellon University, the city has established itself as a strong center for autonomous engineering development. Pittsburgh is also home to several smaller AV startups, including Locomation, which is working on autonomous trucks.
Waymo’s Pittsburgh location will join the network of offices in Mountain View, San Francisco, Phoenix, New York, Dallas and Hyderabad, India.