Amazon might be preparing to make a move into the self-driving vehicle marketplace.
If all goes well during the final phases of negotiations, the company will become the new owner of Zoox, a self-driving start-up based in California.
Co-founded in 2014 by Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levinson, Zoox has a vision of providing on-demand delivery vehicles and robotaxis.
Zoox is hoping to go live with its cutting-edge technology by the end of the year.
The start-up’s estimated market value currently sits at $3.2bn.
However, Pitchbook analyst Asad Hussain believes that $1.1bn would be a fair offer, which is about two-thirds less than the amount mentioned above.
Apart from Amazon, other interested parties will also be presenting their offers.
However, certain investors hope that Zoox will retain its independence.
Since the company’s plans are rather costly, more than $1bn will be needed to cover the production and vehicle development costs, which is the amount raised so far.
Some speculate that it is the company’s inability to secure additional funding that has brought this acquisition consideration to the table.
If Amazon takes charge, the funding problem will no longer be an obstacle.
Although Amazon is no stranger to vehicle-manufacturing industry investments, as illustrated by the example of it putting $440m into Rivian, an electric vehicle maker, the self-driving vehicle market requires a more cautious approach.
The company has also made $530m worth of investment into Aurora Innovation, a collaborative effort between self-driving luminaries from Uber, Tesla and Google.
However, no announcements regarding the deployment of Aurora’s tech have been made yet.
If Amazon acquires Zoox for $1bn, it would place the latter alongside the world’s largest independent self-driving trucking companies.
To name some examples, according to Pitchbook, TuSimple is valued at $1.2bn and PlusAI is valued at $1bn.