SEATTLE — Amazon said on Friday that it was buying the autonomous ride-hailing start-up Zoox, an ambitious move that could put the tech giant in the business of moving people and not just packages.
Amazon has invested heavily in building out the logistics infrastructure to bring orders to customers, with fleets of planes, trucks and delivery drivers. But Zoox’s ambitions have focused on creating a new kind of autonomous car designed specifically for passenger rides without a driver.
“Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience,” Jeff Wilke, who runs Amazon’s consumer business, said in a blog post announcing the deal. The post said Zoox would operate as a “standalone business.”
Amazon for several years has worked on self-driving technology to deliver goods, a natural fit with its shopping business.
The company did not disclose the terms of the deal nor say when it expected the transaction to close.