E-commerce giant Amazon is looking to expand its reach in autonomous-vehicle technology. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is holding negotiations to buy Zoox, California-based company that develops technology for self-driving cars.
Established in 2014, Zoox provides a fully automated electric vehicle fleet and the supporting ecosystem. It designs zero-emissions vehicles and creates mobility-as-a-service in complex environments. In December 2018, it became the first company to gain approval for providing self-driving transport services to the public in California.
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.
The startup, which has raised $1 billion USD in equity, has hired Qatalyst Partners to help it find a buyer, said two people familiar with the situation. At the same time, however, it is also trying to raise fresh equity in a deal that would allow it to remain independent, at least for the moment. Zoox executives have talked to representatives of several automakers about a potential deal or financing, one of the people said.
Zoox late last year targeted Las Vegas as a market for an “autonomous driving fleet and service” by vehicles that could be summoned using a smartphone app, according to its website.
Amazon started to explore driverless technology in 2017 with an internal team of 12 members focused on self-driving tech. Last year, Amazon took part in a $530 million USD funding round run by the self-driving car startup Aurora Innovation and led a $700 million funding for a self-driving tech company Rivian.