Amazon to Buy Zoox Robo-Car Startup
Amazon is joining the expanding field of businesses eager to tap the potential of self-driving delivery vehicles.
The online retailer confirms it has agreed to acquire Zoox, a 6-year-old startup based in Menlo Park, Calif. Rumors about the deal surfaced last month.
Zoox’s autonomous-driving platform (Image: Zoox)
Amazon offered no financial details about the acquisition. Zoox has been valued at $3.2 billion, but a source tells The Wall Street Journal that the sale price is about $1.2 billion. The startup began testing its autonomous driving platform on public streets in California two years ago.
Amazon says it’s buying Zoox to help the company commercialize and deploy electric-powered robotic taxis. But analysts say another big interest is in deploying fleets of self-driving delivery vehicles for parcels sent to Amazon’s own retail customers.
Last month analysts at financial services giant Morgan Stanley estimated that robotic delivery pods could slash more than $20 billion from Amazon’s $90 billion annual shipping bill.
Join the Crowd
Amazon is jumping into a large group of big companies that are buying or partnering with autonomous vehicle developers. They all see huge potential for self-driving vehicles for everything from food delivery and ride-sharing to package distribution and long-haul trucking.
Last summer PitchBook Data calculated that 400 deals worth $30 billion were completed worldwide between 2014 and 2018 worldwide in the autonomous-vehicle sector.
Mazda, the Little Car Company That Can, has been working on a number of important fronts of late.
While there is a burgeoning proliferation of companies that are in the LiDAR space, each with its own take on utilizing laser pulses to create a precise map of its surroundings for purposes of ADAS or full-blown automation, a Seattle-based company has a distinction that certainly sets it apart from its competitors.
Visteon Corp. is developing DriveCore, an open platform to control and operate autonomous vehicles.