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Amazon recently announced its acquisition of Zoox, a developer of Autonomous Passenger Vehicle (APV) technology and an aspiring developer of driverless taxis, for a reported US$1.2 billion. This was markedly less than the company’s 2018 valuation of US$3.2 billion, but since 2018 the optimism about the self-driving car opportunity has fluctuated. Waymo, the market leader in testing, once had an astounding US$175 billion valuation, but this has since plummeted to US$30 billion (17% of the initial valuation). Cruise Automation, General Motors’ (GM) main horse in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) race and second place to Waymo, is valued at US$18 billion. Cruise Automation suggested that unmanned automotive technology represented no less than an US$8 trillion opportunity, larger in fact than the entire Japanese economy. Most of this value (US$5 trillion) is focused on ride-hailing.
Suffice it to say these projections are rosy in the extreme, and this market has so far failed to live up to the enormous expectations placed upon it.
Zoox has faced lawsuits from Tesla due to former workers allegedly t…
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