Amazon agrees to buy Zoox


Rumoured for a few weeks, Amazon has now announced it will buy Zoox. The rumoured price is just $1.2B -- a major down-round for Zoox, but still a large investment for Amazon. Amaon says they plan to continue Zoox's robotaxi vision, but I have to suspect they will also do robotic delivery.

The implications are huge. The robotaxi business is bigger than Amazon's retail business. And making their logistics business more robotic -- both long haul and local delivery -- should scare the others involved in traditional retail and delivery.

Read my updated analysis at Amazon buys Zoox


What a monstrosity that car is.

I like this move by Amazon. The robotaxi business (which probably won't be very "taxi"-like once it's done right) should be right up their alley. Once the software is built it is, after all, very similar to a logistics operation. And while building the software they should be able to collect a lot of data, from all over the world, by putting sensors on their delivery vans. They already have multiple data centers throughout the world, with unbelievable amounts of storage and compute power. Amazon is really perfect for this. I actually can't think of a single company that's better suited to build a robocar that can drive just about anywhere. Look out Tesla, who previously held that position. About the only place Amazon is lacking is in the manufacturing of the car (hardware) itself. Hopefully they can find a good partner for that, to collaborate with or to purchase.

But first they've gotta figure out a way to make the thing a lot less ugly.

When was the last time you bothered to look at your package delivery person/thing?

Are you suggesting that it doesn’t matter what the trucks of a trillion dollar company look like?

Perhaps they came up with an intentionally ugly design so that they wouldn’t be tempted to keep it once they get ready to design the actual final product. It’d be interesting to hear about how that happened.

Also, what happened with the co-founder? I read that he was fired, but then his twitter feed suggests he’s not. Was he re-hired or something? (Maybe only fired from his executive position.)

While a human-driven truck with 150 packages in it does not cost much per package for the human driving, there is a large desire for on-demand delivery.

Not just on-demand delivery. On-demand pickup, of Amazon Marketplace and Fulfilled by Amazon items (and returns, which is probably small right now, but as it becomes cheaper they can offer more and more of the "try it before you buy it" items). Not sure if you're size 3 or size 4? Ship them both, try them on, and return the one that doesn't fit.

Rentals too. There are lots of things we use infrequently but are too much of a pain or expense to drive to and from the store whenever we need them.

It'll be an Amazon Locker on wheels.

(And how about things that are expensive to ship because they are large or heavy? Specially built vehicles should be able to deliver them at a fraction of the cost. Robots similar to the picking robots that Amazon already has will take the refrigerator or dishwasher or washing machine or whatever and deliver it right to the room in the house where you want it. And will pick up your old broken one to dispose of it.)

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