Amazon Scoops Up Self-Driving Start-Up Zoox

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Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report really wants to put delivery folks out of work.

The e-commerce giant on Friday formally put itself in the driver's seat in the race to  put self-driving vehicles on the streets with the acquisition of Zoox.

Amazon will pay more than $1 billion to buy Foster City, Calif.-based Zoox, an autonomous-vehicle startup with nearly 1,000 developers and staff that has been working on perfecting driverless vehicle automation since 2018.

Specific details of the transaction weren’t immediately available. Discussions between the two companies first came to light at the end of May.

"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."

The acquisition is one of Amazon’s biggest bets yet on automation technology, something it has long invested in throughout its supply chain to move goods and services as quickly as possible but has struggled with the so-called last mile of package delivery.

It is also a clear move to cut one of its persistently higher costs: The delivery person.

"This acquisition solidifies Zoox's impact on the autonomous driving industry," said Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox. "We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future."

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