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'Cocaine Cowboys:' Some Google employees allegedly threw a party in 2015 with 'controlled substances' after a successful self-driving car demo (GOOG, GOOGL)

Sean Wolfe
Waymo unveils a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Thomson Reuters

  • On Tuesday, The Information published a report detailing the struggles that Waymo, the self-driving car company spun out from Google, has gone through during its lifespan.
  • According to a tweet by the reporter who wrote the story, a big milestone for the technology in 2015 was marred by a drug-fueled celebration that's become known as "Cocaine Cowboys."

A report in The Information by Amir Efrati on Tuesday detailed some of the struggles Waymo has endured while trying to get its self-driving car program up to speed — but there were some interesting details that were left out of the article. 

In a Twitter thread detailing some background information about the Waymo program (which was initially a Google project before becoming a subsidary under Alphabet), Efrati mentioned one little-known moment in Waymo's history that the company is unlikely to boast about.

In 2015, after successfully completing a self-driving demo with a blind man in the passenger seat, Waymo employees allegedly celebrated the milestone by throwing a bash wih "controlled substances" — the incident (or participants, it's not entirely clear), earned the name "Cocaine Cowboys" within Google, Efrati said. He noted that Google was embarrassed by the incident, and the the snorting cowboys were fired. 

Tweet Embed:
Side note: After the demo, Google fired workers who allegedly celebrated at a party with controlled substances. People refer to this as “Cocaine Cowboys.” It was considered a hush-hush embarrassment. Also Google realized Austin wasn’t the easiest place to test cars anyway. pic.twitter.com/B0DfusyS1P


Who were the Cocaine Cowboys? Were they test drivers, engineers or general Google staffers? And are there any more such buckaroos within Google? Business Insider reached out to Google for comment or confirmation, but did not receive a response as of press time. 

The full Information report is available here. 

Got a tip about the Cocaine Cowboys? Contact this reporter at swolfe@businessinsider.com

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