Amazon in talks to acquire Zoox
Amazon is in “advanced talks” to acquire autonomous vehicle specialist Zoox, the Wall Street Journal reports. Zoox's core business is the development of software and hardware for autonomous EVs that can be booked via smartphone. The company has raised $955 million in funding since its founding in 2014 and was estimated to be worth $3.2 billion in 2018. Both Amazon and Zoox have declined to comment. If true, it could signal Amazon's intention to get into the ride-sharing business – which is bound to make that market's current leaders, Uber and Lyft, very nervous.
But Amazon will have other motives as well. Autonomous vehicles would help it build a more efficient delivery network for its own business. Shipping is one of Amazon's largest expenses: 12% of gross merchandise value in 2019, and expected to reach $90 billion by 2023. One expert says an efficient autonomous-delivery network could produce savings of $20 billion in recurring shipping costs. Down the line, it would make sense for Amazon to use its autonomous-delivery expertise for other purposes, such as ride-sharing and food delivery.