Amazon has signed an agreement to acquire the US-based AI-powered autonomous vehicle startup, Zoox, for over $1.2 billion. The acquisition will enable Zoox to get the necessary deep pockets to continue the steep path to autonomy – especially for the custom vehicles that were on the firm’s drawing board.
In 2014, Dr. Jesse Levinson and Tim Kentley Klay had founded Zoox to make the imaginative, and inventive design came true with the world-class autonomous driving experience. Its vision is to create a zero-emissions purpose-built vehicle explicitly designed for autonomous ride-hailing and an end-to-end autonomy software stack. Its ground-up vehicle aims at the ride-hailing customer, with firmly integrated features design to offering a revolutionary passenger experience.
As per Crunchbase, the last funding round of the startup was held in late 2019. To date, the startup has secured around $955 million and was rumored to have been at $3.2 billion valuations. Lately, Zoox has been hunting for a good pivot. Early this year, it has also cut down a hundred employees and also terminated many contractors to cut down the burn rate.
As per the agreement, Amazon said that Zoox CEO Aicha Evans and co-founder Jesse Levinson would stay on-board to lead Zoox as a standalone business- as the leaders are innovative and focused towards its mission- as Zoox is pioneering the ride-hailing design of autonomous technology. It has a forward-thinking team that keeps passengers as a priority while designing the vehicle.
Keeping aside the specification of the deal, purchasing an autonomous driving platform is not new for Amazon. The giant has worked with the US-based self-driving truck, Embark. Alongside this, it has also invested in the Palo Alto-based self-driving technology, Aurora Innovation. Moreover, Amazon has also developed autonomous vehicle units that go around its warehouses. Additionally, it has tested small cubic meter size self-driving vehicles on public roads. In terms of adjacencies, the giant has also invested the Michigan-based autonomous technology company, Rivian, specializing in building EV trucks.
However, Amazon has no plan with the present autonomous vehicle startup, nor with the earlier autonomous ventures, so it is fair enough to say that Amazon has an ongoing interest in autonomous vehicles and EVs.
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