Amazon might be preparing to dive into the AV sphere by buying robotaxi developer Zoox, according to the Wall Street Journal.
If the deal goes through, the purchase terms would value Zoox below its estimated market value of $3.2 billion, a level attained after its last funding round, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. Some Zoox investors hope Zoox—who seek to build both their own fleet of robotaxis and the technology that operates them, can remain independent.
Cofounded by Australian artist and designer Tim Kentley-Klay and Stanford computer scientist Jesse Levinson in 2014, Zoox have sought to build a business of on-demand robotaxis and delivery vehicles that blend the most advanced aspects of autonomous driving tech with cutting-edge electric powertrains to serve customers in dense urban markets. Its purpose-built vehicle is designed for use in a company-branded fleet, not individual ownership, with a goal to begin operation late this year.
Although Zoox have raised nearly $1bn since founding, the company’s cost-intensive plans require significantly more capital for vehicle development and production; their inability to secure it are said to have likely led them to consider a potential acquisition.