Bottom line: Under Amazon ownership, Zoox's mission statement would almost certainly change as Amazon likely doesn't have much of an interest in the robo-taxi business. Although, given the recent pandemic and associated social distancing measures, the driverless vehicle industry could see renewed interest.
Amazon is reportedly in advanced talks to purchase self-driving vehicle start-up Zoox. Sources familiar with the matter tell The Wall Street Journal that the deal would value the company under $3.2 billion, the valuation its 2018 round of funding was based on.
A formal agreement could still be several weeks out, one source cautioned, and it's possible that talks could fall through even at this late stage.
A spokesperson for Zoox told the publication that it has been receiving interest regarding a strategic transaction from multiple parties and is working with Qatalyst Partners to evaluate the offers.
Founded in 2014, Zoox's vision is to create an autonomous vehicle for the robo-taxi market. The firm raised $800 million in funding back in 2018 but according to the Journal, has struggled to raise additional capital.
Amazon has been exploring the use of autonomous and electric tech for years to help with deliveries and general logistics. Back in September, for example, the company ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from automaker Rivian with plans to have the entire fleet in commission by 2030. Last summer, the e-commerce giant also started experimenting with delivery robots in Southern California and conducted its first Prime Air drone delivery in 2016.