In 2014, startup Zoox was founded by co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson, to make an impact on the tech industry by building purposeful zero-emissions automobiles for autonomous ride-hailing. After being acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion, according to Forbes, that impact may have been set in stone.
“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry,” said Zoox’s CEO, Aicha Evans, in an Amazon blog post. “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.”
As Zoox looks to the future after the acquisition, Evans and Levinson will still hold their leadership positions as the business still stands by itself to fulfill its mission.
“Since Zoox’s inception six years ago, we have been singularly focused on our ground-up approach to autonomous mobility,” Levinson said in the blog post. “Amazon’s support will markedly accelerate our path to delivering safe, clean, and enjoyable transportation to the world.”
Zoox isn’t the only self-driving startup that Amazon has invested in during recent years. According to Forbes, although it is the first one in the space, Amazon has also invested in Aurora Innovation and Rivian Automotive.
While Amazon didn’t exactly reveal its plans for the investment, Forbes spoke with executives and VCs to get an idea.
“Amazon’s goal is to drive the costs of shipping to as close to $0 as possible. Their largest cost is paying humans. The more that can be automated, the cheaper for Amazon and cheaper for us consumers. Fully autonomous, electric delivery systems reduce their cost structure significantly,” Ted Serbinski, the Managing Director of the MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars, told Forbes.
Whether Serbinski’s idea is correct or not, only time will tell. In the meantime, we’re looking forward to seeing the role Evans will play in driving innovation toward the company’s overall mission with Amazon.