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.
Chinese electric-car startup Nio Inc. is forming a manufacturing joint venture with Beijing E-Town International Investment and Development Co., which is investing 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in the business.
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It’s the fifth generation of a vehicle that has been increasing in sales year after year since its introduction in 1997.