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Amazon Peps Up Self-Driving Battle With Zoox Buyout Agreement

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Amazon AMZN is leaving no stone unturned to strengthen presence in the promising autonomous driving space. The company’s agreement to acquire Zoox — a developer of autonomous ride-hailing vehicles — is testament to the same.

Although terms of the deal remain have been kept under wraps, the e-commerce giant would reportedly pay more than $1.2 billion as per the previous releases when the agreement was at the advanced stage of talks.

This buyout is likely to strengthen Amazon’s autonomous driving footprint.

Moreover, the latest move is a remarkable one on part of Amazon in the self-driving car market. Per a report from Market Data Forecast, the market is expected to hit $56.21 billion in 2020 and reach $220.44 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 36.5% between 2020 and 2025.

Further, the move is likely heat up the race in the autonomous driving space with existing players like Alphabet GOOGL, Baidu, Yandex, Apple AAPL and Intel INTCalso leaving no stone unturned capitalise on prospects of this market on the back of their advancing AI technology.


Should Alphabet Worry?

Amazon’s latest move and aggressive strategies is likely to pose a challenge to Alphabet’s moat in the self-driving technology.

We note that Google has been a frontrunner when it comes to autonomous driving courtesy of its well-performing Waymo unit. It is continuosly making efforts to stay ahead of the curve.

Recently, Waymo joined forces with Volvo to develop self-driving electric vehicles for ride hailing services. This remains a major positive step.

Further, Waymo project has recently raised $2.25 billion funding from outside investors —Silver Lake Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Magna International among others — in order to commercialize its self-driving vehicles.

Additionally, its Latent Logic buyout remains noteworthy. Notably, Latent Logic specializes in ML backed imitation learning that is expected to make Waymo’s simulation technology more advanced. This, in turn, will enhance the behaviour prediction ability of Waymo vehicles.

How Apple, Intel & Others Are Faring?

Growing endeavors of Apple, Intel, Baidu and Yandex are also noteworthy in the self-driving space.

Apple’s acquisition of a self-driving shuttle firm, Drive.ai, to boost expertise in neural networks that play an important role in developing software for driverless vehicles remains a major positive.

Further, Intel’s autonomous driving unit — Mobileye — has announced two new agreements in China and South Korea with the SAIC and Daegu Metropolitan City, respectively. These agreements are likely to expand Intel’s global presence in driver-assistance systems and autonomous mobility-as-a-service.

Additionally, Yandex has invested $35 million in its self-driving program to date. Meanwhile, Baidu has received license for five of its self-driving vehicles in China.

Is Amazon Poised to Win?

Nevertheless,Amazon’s growing efforts in this particular market are likely to help in rapidly penetrating the self-driving vehicle market. Apart from the latest move, the company has teamed up with companies developing driverless car software at CES 2020.

Further, the company’s investment in Aurora— a startup that develops technology to power fully autonomous vehicles — remains noteworthy.

We believe Amazon’s aggressive stance with regard to the underlined market is likely to strengthen its competitive position against the abovementioned companies.

Currently, Amazon carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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