Amazon is acquiring the Zoox standalone startup

Amazon has announced that it is acquiring autonomous vehicle startup Zoox in a deal estimated at more than $ 1 billion. Founded in 2014, Zoox was founded in 2014 and raised $ 955 million in funding from investors, including Grok Ventures, Lux Capital, Blackbird Ventures.

Amazon’s intention with the auto industry is not new. Amazon has also invested in electric truck maker Rivian and autonomous startup Aurora. “Zoox is working to imagine, invent and design a world-class autonomous transportation experience,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon, World Consumer. “Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and its customers, and we are excited to help Zoox’s talented team realize their vision for years to come.”

While it looks like the deal could potentially lead Amazon to a new market: transporting people from one location to another, some industry analysts believe Amazon’s primary goal is to reuse Zoox’s technology and operations for its core business: delivering packages to buyers. “I guess in the short term Amazon is probably more interested in taking that platform and adapting it as an alternative or complement to its existing fleet of delivery vans,” said Sam Abuelsamid, lead analyst at Guidehouse Insights, which follows the autonomous vehicle. developments. On the other hand, Amazon did not directly answer any questions about autonomous package delivery.

Zoox has been testing its autonomous driving technology on a fleet of modified Toyota SUVs in San Francisco and Las Vegas, and has recently moved toward a commercial launch before live testing of its Tier 3 vehicles stopped during the pandemic. . The company recently announced that it would begin deploying its autonomous Highlanders in Las Vegas with a permit from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to autonomously transport passengers.

Amazon says the Zoox team will continue to be led by current CEO Aicha Evans and CTO Jesse Levinson. The Financial Times previously reported that Amazon would allow Zoox to function as an independent subsidiary after the acquisition, similar to how Twitch currently operates. “This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry,” said Aicha Evans, Zoox CEO. “We have come a long way with our specially designed approach to safe and autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team working every day to achieve that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to achieve a fully autonomous future.”