Self-driving vehicles: Amazon may buy robo-taxi startup Zoox

Marco Green
May 31, 2020

However, home deliveries - a key part of Amazon's offering - is one area in which driverless vehicles might be expected to make an impact.

Companies such as FedEx and United Parcel Service also 'will have to respond to keep up, ' they noted.

"Zoox has been receiving interest in a strategic transaction from multiple parties and has been working with Qatalyst Partners to evaluate such interest", the startup said Tuesday. Amazon and Zoox both declined comment. Amazon also declined to comment on the report.

"Zoox's prospects soured last month when the coronavirus crisis grounded its fleet and forced the company to lay off about 100 employees, representing 10% of its workforce", Patrick McGee writes for Financial Times.

Zoox had promised to build a fully driverless auto by this year. Price of Zoox estimated at $3.2 billion, the startup's board even cast a ballot to remove Chief Executive Officer Tim Kentley-Klay to "improve minimal expenditure close by to the detriment of significant advancement".

"Amazon is willing to spend heavily to automate its e-commerce business".

Amazon and Zoox are in advanced negotiations of a deal that would value the startup at less than the $3.2 billion it was estimated to be worth in a funding round two years ago, the Journal reported, citing unnamed people with knowledge of the matter.

With Amazon still relying on drivers to deliver packages (which is actually one of the company's biggest costs), having Zoox provide autonomous vehicles could save the company money in deliveries. CEO Jeff Bezos reported designs for ramble conveyance in 2013 which aren't available on the scale.

Last year, Amazon invested along with Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital in self-driving startup Aurora Innovation Inc., a startup led by the former heads of Google's driverless auto project and Tesla's Autopilot team.

That investment by Amazon and another in which it led a $700 million round in electric-car maker Rivian Automotive LLC signaled a growing interest by the tech giant in the future of transportation as it faces increasing logistics costs.

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