| 2:35 PM EST

Amazon to Buy Zoox Robo-Car Startup

Focus is automated ride-hailing, package delivery services
#Waymo #GeneralMotors #Ford

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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.

Among the notable OEMs in the group are General Motors (Cruise Automation), Ford (Argo AI), Toyota (Pony.ai), Volkswagen (Argo AI) and Volvo (Waymo).

Last summer PitchBook Data calculated that 400 deals worth $30 billion were completed worldwide between 2014 and 2018 worldwide in the autonomous-vehicle sector.

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