Amazon in talks to buy self-driving tech company Zoox

Amazon has been exploring self-driving technology for several years now

Amazon declined to comment on the possible deal. The company confirmed it has hired investment bank Qatalyst Partners to work on investment and possible acquisition.

Zoox, founded in 2014, has been working to develop the hardware and software needed to create electric-powered, robot taxis that would be summoned by smartphone app starting this year. Zoox is unlikely to sell for less than the more than $1 billion that it has raised, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations.

In December 2018 Zoox became the first company in California to gain approval for providing self-driving transport services to the public.

Last May, Amazon broke ground on its own airport in Kentucky to have greater control over its own shipping operations.

Prime Air operates out of smaller regional airports near its distribution centers around the country, helping Amazon to accommodate one- and two-day delivery options for most of the U.S.

The company actually wanted to start building a fully driverless auto this year.

"Following on from Amazon's commitment to buy 100,000 Rivian delivery vans between 2021-24, a potential Zoox transaction could make those custom vans autonomous as well", said Jonas.

Last month Zoox settled with Tesla, after admitting that some new hires from the electric carmaker were in possession of certain Tesla documents when they joined.

"These materials and knowhow were developed by Tesla over many years, and at great expense", the lawsuit stated.

Zoox said the settlement required it to pay Tesla an undisclosed amount and undergo an audit to ensure that none of its employees had retained or are using Tesla's confidential information. Uber Technologies Inc. followed with a $680 million deal to acquire a startup by one of the earliest pioneers in the modern effort, Anthony Levandowski - a deal that later soured after his previous employer, Alphabet Inc.'s self-driving unit now-known as Waymo, sued for trade-secrets theft. "Kentley-Klay was sacked in 2018, shortly after the company announced a $500 million funding round, and was replaced as CEO in early 2019 by former Intel INTC executive Aicha Evans", Ohnsman, who wrote an account of the startup's "wild ride" in May 2018, continues.

He was replaced as chief executive early a year ago by Aicha Evans, who had been chief strategy officer at Intel Corp.

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