The successful moves into distant technology domains for innovation opportunities.

Google (Alphabet Inc.) is considered to be one of the leading companies in the driverless vehicle space.

But how can a company which core capability started as Search Engine Optimization and advertisements become a leader in the autonomous vehicles domain?

To answer this question, we want to understand what enabled Google to successfully develop their capabilities into the driverless car by analyzing how the company evolved since it was founded in 1998.

We use InnoSenze “Future” function to visualize the technology acquisition trajectory of Google.

Since 1998, Google’s core knowledge was, intuitively, in the Computing domain, and specifically in web-based application and search engine optimization technologies.

While still increasing their knowledge into the original core sectors, Google also started to expand its portfolio into closely related domains such as “Electric Communication” and Electric Circuitry”.

By following an optimal path of intermediate capability acquisitions, in 2006 the company entered for the first time the “Vehicles” technology domain.

Alphabet announced the move into driverless car in 2015… almost 10 years after the first move into the cars technology sector.

Eventually in 2016 Waymo Inc. was incorporated as a spin-off of Google driverless projects and became one of the most valued startups ever.

One of the factors that contributed to Waymo Inc. success was the fact that Google achieved its goal by using an optimal strategy that is congruent with the knowledge distance between technologies, bridging its original capabilities and the autonomous vehicle sector via intermediate steps of knowledge acquisition.