Amazon is moving into the self-driving car business with the acquisition of Zoox.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the Financial Times reported that Zoox is being bought for more than $1.2 billion USD and that the deal will be announced today.
“Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO, Worldwide Consumer. “Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and about its customers, and we’re excited to help the talented Zoox team to bring their vision to reality in the years ahead.”
If confirmed, the acquisition of the startup would give the e-commerce giant access to a pool of over 1,000 staff and additional talent in the self-driving space.
California-based Zoox, which also has offices across the San Francisco Bay Area, was founded in 2014 by Tim Kentley-Klay and Dr. Jesse Levinson.
The startup describes itself as a company focused on building “autonomous mobility from the ground up,” which includes self-driving software for vehicles to safely navigate city streets.
“Since Zoox’s inception six years ago, we have been singularly focused on our ground-up approach to autonomous mobility,” said Levinson, Zoox’s CTO. “Amazon’s support will markedly accelerate our path to delivering safe, clean, and enjoyable transportation to the world.”
Zoox will continue to exist as a standalone business according to Amazon’s announcement, with current CEO Aicha Evans continuing in her role, as well as CTO and co-founder Jesse Levinson. Their overall company mission will also remain the same, the release notes.
While Apple, Google and others have invested in self-driving technology, Amazon is the one whose core business could benefit the most, given how much the company spends to deliver goods to consumers.