Robot taxi Start-up Zoox Raises $200M

Zoox has raised $200 million as part of Series C at the end of October according to Robotreport.[1] We didn’t find an update in Zoox homepage. Zoo x is keeping quiet as usual.

In August 2018, Zoox raised $500 million. One month later, Zoox board fired their co-funder and CEO Kentley-Klay. Kentley-Klay confirmed the information in his tweet account. He said Zoox’s board fired him “without a warning, cause or right of reply. ” Bloomberg reported Kentley-klay’s leave via an unnamed source. [2] However, Zoox kept silent, neither replying a comment nor issuing a statement.

In Jan.14, 2019, Zoox appointed Aicha Evans as CEO, former Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Intel. Evans worked at Intel for 12 years. Zoox increased its management team members after the new CEO. Amy Vernetti as Chief People Officer, Ilan Hart as VP of Finance and Erika Linford as VP of Commercial Development.

Zoox tries to build robot self-driving taxicabs, working on both the hardware and software side. Robot taxi basically needs level 4 above automatic driving technologies. Since robot taxi can reduce driver labor costs, it’s promising for traditional taxi companies and ridesharing companies. Waymo, Uber and DiDi are working for this target.  On Nov 2nd, Waymo announced that they would provide self-driving taxi without safety driver service to public in Phoenix, Arizona. [3] Waymo is the first company to achieve the goal after more than a decade.

DiDi, Chinese ride-hailing giant, is chasing after Waymo. On Aug 29th, DiDi CEO Cheng Wei said they would accelerate their robot taxi test in Shanghai at WAIC 2019. DiDi had already developed a demo app for robot taxi. During the WAIC 2019 period, they sat an area for experiencing their robot taxi service. Since it’s a closed site, it’s hard to judge their performance. DiDi test cars are a function-orientated modification in appearance. All sensing parts are located on the roof rack, including one 64-line mechanical laser radar, two 16-line laser radars, and seven cameras. [4]

Zoox decided to build a totally new car for self-driving taxi at the very beginning. Instead of stuffing existing cars with sensors, they want to make an autonomous car from the ground up. But their software development can’t wait for hardware. In Oct, Zoox gets the permission to test their modified self-driving cars on state roads at Las Vegas. Zoox plans to test its ground-up robot car publicly in 2020. They still have one year.

[1] Zoox raises $200M more for robotaxi development, testing in Las Vegas

2 Replies to “Robot taxi Start-up Zoox Raises $200M”

  1. Voyage is a self-driving startup has recruited some of the industry’s brightest, many who have tackled similar problems at companies such as Apple, Uber, Cruise, NIO, and Tesla. The startup is getting its autonomous taxis on the road and serving a demographic that might need it the most — 129,000 seniors in Florida and California retirement communities. Voyage is now on the hunt to fill 20 roles, including a field engineer and vehicle operations specialist in Florida. Amperity, which helps companies such as Starbucks and the Gap use their customer data more intelligently, has raised $87 million in funding to date, which has helped fuel its massive expansion. On top of 355% year-over-year revenue growth in 2018, the company has increased its employee headcount by more than 60% since July 2018. The startup has another 34 open positions with plans to grow its sales and marketing team shortly.

    1. Voyage tries to find a business in a low-speed scene at first, like in the community. Voyage runs its self-driving car team in two “The Villages” retirement communities. They even provide stock equity to these communities. It’s a business-oriented strategy. Voyage is conservative in self-driving.

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