2. Amazon buys Zoox in big AV deal
Zoox self-driving test vehicle. Photo: Andrei Stanescu/Getty Images
Amazon said this morning it is buying the self-driving taxi startup Zoox, its biggest move yet into autonomous vehicle technology. Amazon is paying around $1.2 billion, according to a source familiar with the price.
Why it matters: While Amazon's previous auto-related investments seemed focused on building its own third-party logistics network, Amazon made clear today it will help bring Zoox's ambitious robotaxi plan to fruition.
Zoox CEO Aicha Evans and co-founder and chief technology officer Jesse Levinson will continue to lead the company as a standalone business.
Yes, but: It's still possible Amazon would use Zoox's technology for self-driving delivery or warehouse vehicles.
Morgan Stanley analysts have estimated automated delivery could save Amazon more than $20 billion a year in shipping costs.
Last year, Amazon invested along with Sequoia Capital in self-driving startup Aurora Innovation.
Amazon has also backed Rivian Automotive, the electric pickup and SUV maker, and placed an order for 100,000 of its electric delivery trucks.
Background: Founded in 2014, Zoox has always been more ambitious than most, with plans to develop AV technology, design and build a robotaxi, and operate its own ride-hailing network.
3. Waymo and Volvo to develop electric robotaxi
Photo: Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Waymo is teaming up with Volvo Cars to develop a self-driving electric vehicle platform for ride-hailing services.
Why it matters: Volvo, owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, is the fourth major automaker to align with Waymo.
This partnership is different from the others, however, because instead of supplying cars to be outfitted with Waymo technology, the two companies will work together to design a new robotaxi platform.
The intrigue: Waymo will be Volvo's exclusive partner for Level 4 autonomy, but the deal won't affect Volvo's agreement to supply vehicles to Uber's Advanced Technology Group, which is also working on self-driving systems.
Of note: Volvo Cars, and its Chinese-Swedish sister brands, Polestar and Lynk & Co., are included in the Waymo partnership.
What they're saying:
"This key partnership with Volvo Car Group helps pave the path to the deployment of the Waymo Driver globally in years to come, and represents an important milestone in the highly competitive autonomous vehicle industry," said Adam Frost, Waymo's chief automotive officer.
"Our global partnership with Waymo opens up new and exciting business opportunities for Volvo Cars, Polestar, and Lynk & Co.," said Volvo's chief technology officer Henrik Green.
Waymo said it will continue working with Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.