Amazon has signed an agreement to acquire Zoox, a California-based company working to design autonomous ride-hailing vehicles from the ground up. Aicha Evans, Zoox CEO, and Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO, will continue to lead the team as they innovate and drive towards their mission.
Though no official financial details were revealed but according to media reports including NYTimes.com, Amazon has reportedly shelled out about $1.2 billion US dollars to buy the six-year-old self-driving vehicle technology startup.
Founded in 2014, Zoox is autonomous vehicle company targeted at robo-taxi market by developing a fully autonomous, purpose-built fleet designed for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to drive and humans to enjoy.\
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reacted to the Amazon’s acquisition news Musk by taking a jab at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Twitter. In his tweet, Musk called Amazon CEO a copycat but used a yellow cat icon instead of the word “cat.”
Notably, while Tesla cars are built to go directly to customers Zoox’s vehicles are designed for ride-hailing purpose and Amazon will more likely use Zoox for its package delivery process.
“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.”
Zoox’s ground-up vehicle focuses on the ride-hailing customer, with tightly integrated features designed to provide a revolutionary passenger experience. Zoox’s approach to invention provides flexibility and the means to iterate rapidly to continuously deliver a superior experience for customers.