AMAZON MOVES INTO ROBOTAXIS
Amazon Moving People and Packages
Amazon has purchased self-driving startup Zoox of Foster City, CA for more than $1.2 billion. It's the e-commerce giant's biggest investment yet in the self-driving, autonomous category. And, it's the second biggest acquisition that Amazon has ever made after purchasing Whole Foods. This catapults Amazon into potentially another new business category. It may not be just moving packages but also people. Zoox's expertise is designing a world-class autonomous ride-hailing service, also known as RoboTaxis. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is always on the move for new avenues of business.
Zoox's approach to self-driving is different. It's not retrofitting existing cars with self-driving technology. It's developing a whole new, purposed, self-driving vehicle with no steering wheel that can move in any direction. Some analysts say that Zoox's innovative technology is impressive. Adding Amazon into the robotic taxi equation will give companies like Uber, Lift, Tesla, Googles' Waymo, Ford-Argeo, GM's Cruise and more a massive amount of new competition, in this new emerging, hot market.
Zoox had planned to launch a pilot program with its autonomous cars this year. But, like so many companies, Zoox took a big hit from the coronavirus, lockdowns, social distancing and economic disruptions. It laid off 100 employees and essentially put itself up for sale in May.
Morgan Stanley analysts forecast that the RoboTaxi industry, providing passengers driverless rides, will generate revenues of $60 billion just in the US by 2023. It's a hot business that Amazon is jumping into. Within Amazon, Zoox will operate as a standalone business.