Amazon May Buy Robo-Taxi Startup Zoox

Marco Green
May 29, 2020

"Following on from Amazon's commitment to buy 100,000 Rivian delivery vans between 2021-24, a potential Zoox transaction could make those custom vans autonomous as well", said Jonas.

Companies such as FedEx and United Parcel Service also 'will have to respond to keep up, ' they noted. Amazon and Zoox both declined comment. Zoox has raised nearly $1 billion in funding. Amazon also declined to comment on the report.

Amazon a few years ago created a team devoted to driverless-vehicle technology, motivated in part by a push to transport more of its goods itself. "Kentley-Klay was sacked in 2018, shortly after the company announced a $500 million funding round, and was replaced as CEO in early 2019 by former Intel INTC executive Aicha Evans", Ohnsman, who wrote an account of the startup's "wild ride" in May 2018, continues.

Zoox had big ambition and financial backing. The executive criticised the move, saying directors were "optimising for a little money in hand at the expense of profound progress".

The companies are discussing a deal that would value Zoox at less than the $3.2 billion it achieved in a funding round in 2018, according to people familiar with the matter.

Amazon is automating its e-commerce activities, with robots in distribution centers, for example. In 2012 for $775 million was spent by them on giant purchased warehouse robot-maker Kiva Systems Inc. which now has over thousands of robots in warehouses in the world. Autonomous technology could further enhance the efficiency of that operation and help to reduce costs. CEO Jeff Bezos reported designs for ramble conveyance in 2013 which aren't available on the scale. Last year, Amazon revealed an experimental delivery robot called Scout in the Seattle area that rolls on sidewalks like a shopping cart. It has made several investments in the area, including past year when it participated in autonomous-technology firm Aurora Innovation Inc.'s $530 million funding round. Those bets left Morgan Stanley's auto analyst questioning earlier this month whether Tesla's rich valuation is warranted given the competitive threats the company faces. "But what if Amazon is the Amazon of transportation?"

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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