Amazon has had its hands full in recent months as it attempted to keep home-bound consumers stocked up on essential goods — while keeping its own massive warehouses free of the novel coronavirus.
But the e-commerce giant, never known for a lack of ambition, has also apparently been looking to expand its capabilities in autonomous transportation.
Reuters, citing a report from the Wall Street Journal, indicated that Amazon is in advanced talks to potentially acquire Zoox, a Silicon Valley startup that hopes to build a fully autonomous fleet of robotaxis.
For Amazon, which is always interested in ways to make transportation cheaper and more efficient — particularly on the expensive final miles of its products’ journeys — the deal would add to its investments in autonomous technologies. The company joined a $530 million funding campaign by Aurora, another California startup, early last year.
Both Amazon and Zoox declined to comment to Reuters, and the report noted that a deal could still be weeks away and could fail to materialize altogether.
A potential price was not disclosed, although it would reportedly be less than the $3.2 billion that Zoox was valued at following a 2018 round of investments.
Zoox previously drew headlines when Tesla filed a lawsuit against the startup last year. The electric car maker alleged that former warehouse managers gave trade secrets to Zoox when they defected to the new company, allowing a potential rival to quickly build up an inventory network.