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Driving Waymo’s Fully Autonomous Future
Lenox, Michael; McDermott, Jack Case S-0367 / Published January 10, 2022 / 16 pages.
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Product Overview

In June 2021, Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., the holding company and parent to Google, is a market leader in developing and deploying autonomous vehicles (AV). New co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana has been tasked with guiding Waymo's continued development and scaling of its AV offerings. Waymo had debuted several notable AV innovations, including fully autonomous driving software; a commercial ride-hailing service in metro Phoenix, Arizona; partnerships with well-respected car manufacturers like Daimler AG, Nissan-Renault, Jaguar Land Rover, and Volvo; and an autonomous trucking and last-mile delivery pilot service in test markets in three US states. Meanwhile, competitors such as GM, Tesla, Audi, and Amazon are investing heavily in the pursuit of AVs and launching competing products and services. In this increasingly crowded and competitive AV space, Mawakana needs to decide on how to best steer Waymo forward.



Learning Objectives

This case is used as the first case in the Darden MBA elective "Strategy in the Digital Age." The case provides an opportunity to explore the competitive implications of an emergent, disruptive technology. It can be used to explore questions, such as: How may a new digital technology change the value proposition to customers? How can it create new business models and sources of competitive advantage? How may this impact the underlying nature of competition within the industry and what are the implications for incumbents, diversifying entrants, and entrepreneurial start-ups? The case serves as an introduction to the topics of digital strategy and digital transformation and can be used in more general strategy classes focused on industry evolution and disruptive technologies.


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  • Overview

    In June 2021, Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., the holding company and parent to Google, is a market leader in developing and deploying autonomous vehicles (AV). New co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana has been tasked with guiding Waymo's continued development and scaling of its AV offerings. Waymo had debuted several notable AV innovations, including fully autonomous driving software; a commercial ride-hailing service in metro Phoenix, Arizona; partnerships with well-respected car manufacturers like Daimler AG, Nissan-Renault, Jaguar Land Rover, and Volvo; and an autonomous trucking and last-mile delivery pilot service in test markets in three US states. Meanwhile, competitors such as GM, Tesla, Audi, and Amazon are investing heavily in the pursuit of AVs and launching competing products and services. In this increasingly crowded and competitive AV space, Mawakana needs to decide on how to best steer Waymo forward.

  • Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    This case is used as the first case in the Darden MBA elective "Strategy in the Digital Age." The case provides an opportunity to explore the competitive implications of an emergent, disruptive technology. It can be used to explore questions, such as: How may a new digital technology change the value proposition to customers? How can it create new business models and sources of competitive advantage? How may this impact the underlying nature of competition within the industry and what are the implications for incumbents, diversifying entrants, and entrepreneurial start-ups? The case serves as an introduction to the topics of digital strategy and digital transformation and can be used in more general strategy classes focused on industry evolution and disruptive technologies.