Amazon has agreed to acquire Zoox, a self-driving vehicle and ride-hailing service startup based in California with nearly 1,000 employees. The move could signal Amazon muscling in on Uber and Lyft’s territory.
The deal was first reported by The Information, which said that Amazon is paying more than $1 billion for the acquisition. Amazon has since confirmed its purchase of Zoox, but did not disclose the transaction’s details.
“Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO, Worldwide Consumer, 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.”
Zoox, which was founded in 2014, has been working on self-driving vehicle technology for an electric-powered robo-taxi that customers will be able to request through a smartphone app. The startup has described its work as “creating autonomous mobility from the ground up,” and it appears that it will be able to continue its mission of developing a fully autonomous, purpose-built vehicle under Amazon.
Amazon confirmed to Digital Trends that Zoox will operate as a standalone business, with CEO Aicha Evans and CTO/co-founder Jesse Levinson to continue to helm the company.
It is unclear if Amazon will be using Zoox’s systems to automate vehicles that will be used for delivering packages to customers, according to The Information. Amazon, which is no stranger to self-driving technology, may also be eventually looking to enter the ride-hailing space, where it will go head to head with Uber and Lyft.
Amazon’s acquisition of Zoox follows its purchase of the naming rights to the former KeyArena in Seattle, which will now be called the Climate Pledge Arena. The rebuilt arena will be carbon neutral and eventually zero-waste.
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