Zoox, a self-driving tech startup acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion, becomes the fourth company to get a driverless car permit in California
The first time we covered Zoox was back in July 2018 when the self-driving tech startup raised a massive $500 million at a $3.2 billion valuation. The San Francisco-based Zoox is an AI robotics company that provides mobility-as-a-service and self-driving car services. The startup is building an advanced mobility experience that will support the future needs of urban mobility for both people and the environment.
Last June, Amazon acquired Zoox in a deal valuing the autonomous-car startup at a little over $1.2 billion. At the time, some experts said Amazon made the acquisition to integrate Zoox’s technology into its distribution network than building a fleet of cars. Over the years, however, Amazon has been expanding aggressively into self-driving technology. Early last year, Amazon participated in the $530 million funding round of another self-driving car startup, Aurora Innovation.
Then just this past Friday, Zoox announced it has received a permit from California state authorities to test its self-driving vehicles without an in-car backup driver, making Zoox the fourth company to land a driverless car permit in California. Other companies who already hold a permit include Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, Chinese startup AutoX, and Nuro Inc.
This is a big win for Amazon as the eCommerce giant joined the list of big tech companies like Tesla and Google that have established substantial in-house autonomous-vehicle efforts. The new permit will enable Zoox to test two autonomous vehicles without a driver behind the wheel on specified streets near its Foster City headquarters, California Department of Motor Vehicles said in a statement.
Founded in 2014 Tim Kentley-Klay and Dr. Jesse Levinson, Zoox is a California based robotics startup that creates autonomous mobility. Operating at the intersection of design, computer science, and electro-mechanical engineering, Zoox is a multidisciplinary team working to imagine and build an advanced mobility experience that will support the future needs of urban mobility for both people and the environment. The 6-year-old self-driving Zoox has raised $955 million in venture-backed funding.