It is a typical Jeff Bezos playbook: make the oasis (the ecommerce business) better. He did it in the data center business, supporting ecommerce, and that data center is now a money maker called Amazon Web Services (AWS). We are learning that Amazon wants to acquire autonomous vehicle startup, Zoox, for $1.2 billion. It is the same playbook: make the oasis better by deploying a game changing logistics system through a swarm of autonomous vehicles across cities and communities. And if you do that well, you cut drivers and save money at scale! Yes, machines do the deliveries, autonomously. This will give Amazon a faster and cheaper delivery system with human elements well curtailed: those strikes will be muted, fortunately or unfortunately.
If you add the cashierless experiment Amazon is running, you can imagine a scenario where buyers do not even need to visit the stores. Simply, you buy and the autonomous vehicles deliver to you. Then, at the end, the Zoox will become a new product that would serve customers, challenging companies like Waymo and Telsa in the autonomous vehicle space. This is a good example of the one oasis strategy.
The press release.
Amazon and Zoox are pleased to announce that we’ve signed an agreement for Amazon to acquire Zoox. Zoox is a forward-thinking team that is pioneering the future of ride-hailing by designing autonomous technology from the ground up with passengers front-of-mind. Aicha Evans, Zoox CEO, and Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO, will continue to lead Zoox as a standalone business as they innovate and drive towards their mission.
“Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO, Worldwide Consumer. “Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and about its customers, and we’re excited to help the talented Zoox team to bring their vision to reality in the years ahead.”
“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry,” said Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox. “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.”
“Since Zoox’s inception six years ago, we have been singularly focused on our ground-up approach to autonomous mobility,” said Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO. “Amazon’s support will markedly accelerate our path to delivering safe, clean, and enjoyable transportation to the world.”
Zoox started in 2014 with the vision of purpose-built, zero-emissions vehicles designed for autonomous ride-hailing, along with an end-to-end autonomy software stack. Zoox’s ground-up vehicle focuses on the ride-hailing customer, with tightly integrated features designed to provide a revolutionary passenger experience. Zoox’s approach to invention provides flexibility and the means to iterate rapidly to continuously deliver a superior experience for customers.
The photo below shows Amazon autonomous robots which currently deliver packages in selected U.S. universities. These robots depart from the Amazon Store where people can pick some packages. But if you are not interested, the robots can deliver to your house. These robots are smart, and you do not need to make any special effort to accommodate them. The first time I saw them, I recorded them. But largely, you will think an adult is crossing the road. With Zoox, an autonomous vehicle startup, Amazon will pair the two, eliminating any element of human systems. The goal is to make the oasis (the ecommerce) better through efficient and cheaper logistics. Then over time, expect the UPS, United States Postal Service, Fedex, etc to begin to buy them.