Amazon is set to purchase self-driving vehicle technology company Zoox marking a major shift into the sector.
The ecommerce giant is understood to be in “advanced talks” with Zoox, a self-driving startup with lofty ambitions to launch an automated taxi company, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While neither company has confirmed or denied the acquisition, sources have suggested it could cost Amazon $1.1 billion, well below its estimated market value of $3.2 billion.
Zoox is one of the few driverless technology companies with the ambition creating a driverless artificial intelligence system, its own mass-produced autonomous vehicle and a self-driving ride hailing network.
Despite raising nearly $1 billion in funding since it launched in 2014, its ambitious plans will require a company with the financial heft of Amazon to have a chance of succeeding.
While other buyers are understood to be interested in buying the company, the impact of the coronavirus all but ensures Zoox will need to seriously consider a sales in order to complete its cost intensive plans.
Last month the pandemic forced Zoox to halt testing of its fleet and make around 10 per cent of its workforce redundant.
Amazon has previously invested in electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian, committing to purchase 100,000 of their electric delivery vans for its logistics operations.
It has took part in a $530 million investment round in autonomous driving startup Aurora Innovation, but had not suggested that it could adopt its technology.