Amazon Buys Zoox – The Autonomous Driving Startup

The eCommerce business giant, Amazon has announced Friday that it has acquired the self-driving vehicle company Zoox. Amazon’s deal to buy Zoox was reportedly valued at $1.2 billion, however, both the companies did not completely reveal the deal and financial terms and this amount is a substantial haircut from the $3.2 billion figure the startup reached less than two years ago when it raised $500 million from investors including Grok Ventures and Primavera Capital Group.

Self-driving Vehicle by Zoox
Self-driving Vehicle by Zoox

Founded in 2014, Zoox had vowed to have self-driving taxis in San Francisco this year but found the project a bit more challenging than expected. Zoox had reportedly downsized in April and faced problems raising new cash. These and other challenges have resulted in its sale which will help to keep the startup in the self-driving space afloat.

“Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience,” Jeff Wilke, Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO, said in a statement. “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.”

This acquisition also brings Amazon into the ranks of other corporate efforts like Ford, Uber and GM to build self-driving vehicles. With this new support and acquisition by Amazon, the startup will be able to continue development of its robot taxi with the goal of deploying the vehicles.

“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry,” Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox said in a statement. “We have made great strides with our purpose-built approach to safe, autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team working every day to realize that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future.”

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is just copying Tesla’s lead with this move, calling Amazon CEO Bezos copycat in a tweet.

According to PitchBook, the self-driving vehicle industry is expected to grow to $41.4 billion by 2030, through the sale of vehicle software, sensors and other required hardware. Investment in the autonomous vehicle industry reached a record $3.4 billion in Q1, driven mainly by Waymo.

Aimal Khan is the founder & CEO of Engineering Passion. He is an engineer and has obtained his bachelor's degree in energy engineering from Kandahar University.