Internet giant Amazon is buying Zoox, a Foster City-based developer of self-driving car technology for a reported $1.2 billion according to The Wall Street Journal. This amount is far lower than Zoox’s previous valuation as high as $3.2 billion.
Zoox was founded in 2014 with the goal of creating zero-emissions vehicles designed for autonomous ride-hailing, along with an end-to-end autonomy software stack.
Aicha Evans, Zoox CEO, and Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO, will continue to lead Zoox as a standalone business according to Amazon.
“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.”
“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry,” said Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox. “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.”
“Since Zoox’s inception six years ago, we have been singularly focused on our ground-up approach to autonomous mobility,” said Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO. “Amazon’s support will markedly accelerate our path to delivering safe, clean, and enjoyable transportation to the world.”
Amazon will likely use Zoox technology to create self-driving vehicles that can deliver goods ordered on the site by customers and eventually save the company millions of dollars in shipping costs.
In April, Zoox announced a settlement of a lawsuit by electric car maker Tesla. Under the settlement, Zoox made an undisclosed payment to Tesla and said it would undergo an audit of its systems to ensure that no Zoox employees have retained or are using Tesla confidential information. Zoox acknowledges that certain of its new hires from Tesla were in possession of Tesla documents pertaining to shipping, receiving, and warehouse procedures when they joined Zoox’s logistics team,