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Amazon pays $1.2 billion for self-driving startup Zoox
People examine a Zoox test vehicle in 2019. The company has yet to show off the custom-designed vehicle it plans to use for its commercial service.

Enlarge / People examine a Zoox test vehicle in 2019. The company has yet to show off the custom-designed vehicle it plans to use for its commercial service. (credit: Andrei Stanescu / Getty)

Zoox, one of the most lavishly funded independent self-driving startups, has been acquired by Amazon, the companies announced on Friday.

Venture capitalists, hungry for a stake in the much-hyped self-driving industry, poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Zoox between 2016 and 2019. But as self-driving companies have failed to hit self-imposed milestones over the last couple of years, investor enthusiasm has cooled.

Zoox’s own plans were breathtakingly ambitious. The company planned to not only develop self-driving software, but to build its own vehicles and create a ride-hailing service. As recently as 2018, the company was aiming to launch a fully self-driving taxi service by 2020.

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