Why Amazon.com (AMZN) Is Buying Zoox

By Amit Chowdhry ● June 29, 2020
  • Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced it is buying self-driving car company Zoox. These are the details about the deal.

This past week, it was announced that Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is buying self-driving car company Zoox. The terms of the deal were undisclosed, but rumor has it that it was valued at about $1 billion. The completion of the deal is subject to customary closing conditions.

Zoox CEO Aicha Evans and Zoox co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson will continue to lead Zoox as a standalone business. And Zoox launched in 2014 with the vision of zero-emissions vehicles designed for autonomous ride-hailing along with an end-to-end autonomy software stack.

What is Zoox working on? Zoox has been building a bi-directional vehicle without a steering wheel and it can travel in either direction. The company has been testing the self-driving technology in a fleet of Toyota SUVs in Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Zoox’s ground-up vehicle focuses on the ride-hailing customer with tightly integrated features designed to provide a revolutionary passenger experience. Plus Zoox’s approach to innovation provides flexibility and the means to iterate rapidly to continuously deliver a superior experience for customers.

At least 17 Zoox employees previously worked on Apple’s Project Titan self-driving car project, according to Cult of Mac. For example, Zoox director of chassis systems Paul Choin was previously a product design engineer at Apple. And he was listed on an Apple Car patent for publishing a special car suspension system.

Zoox Vice President of Procurement & Strategic Partnerships Bruce Baumgartner, Zoox Mechanical Engineer Silas Wilkinson, and Zoox Senior Software Engineer: Robot Software Infrastructure Zach Church previously worked as Group Senior Manager of Strategic Commodity Procurement, Optomechanical Engineer, and Senior Software Engineer at Accessory Ecosystems at Apple, respectively.

This is not the first self-driving vehicle company that Amazon acquired. And the company previously bought Aurora Innovation. And Amazon also made a large investment in electric vehicle company Rivian Automotive.

Currently, Zoox employs about 1,000 people.

Key Quotes:

“Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience. 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.”

– Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of Worldwide Consumer

“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry. 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.”

– Zoox CEO Aicha Evans

“Since Zoox’s inception six years ago, we have been singularly focused on our ground-up approach to autonomous mobility. Amazon’s support will markedly accelerate our path to delivering safe, clean, and enjoyable transportation to the world.”

– Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO