Amazon buys self-driving auto startup Zoox

Amazon buys self-driving auto startup Zoox

Amazon has already shored up its autonomous delivery services, with investments in 2019 in Aurora Innovation, a company focusing on self-driving systems for heavy trucks, as well as over $1.3 billion in Rivian, makers of the upcoming R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck, the only real rival to Tesla's Cybertruck so far.

Amazon will reportedly shell out over a billion dollars to buy the six-year-old self-driving vehicle technology startup.

"Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience", said Jeff Wilke, Amazon's CEO of Worldwide Consumer said in a statement. However, analysts expect Amazon could also use automated cars to deliver goods to customers.

As Business Insider's Mark Matousek reported in late May, Amazon's interest in Zoox was piqued to help round out its package-delivery process.

Zoox was recently valued at $3.2 billion.

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Zoox did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. However, by this April, the company had to cut its headcount by around 100 people, likely due to the impact of the coronavirus.

The world's largest online retailer has stepped up its investment in the auto sector, participating in self-driving vehicle startup Aurora Innovation Inc's $530 million funding round early a year ago.

Zoox isn't Amazon's first foray into self-driving cars, either.

Google has always been developing self driving technology with its Waymo brand, Uber has been testing autonomous technology for years, while Apple spent billions on its vehicle project before canning it.

Tesla's autopilot feature, even in its "Full Self-Driving" options, are not yet fully autonomous and still require human interaction.

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