In recent years, Amazon has been investing more heavily in the autonomous driving market. Amazon is taking a step further in the world of autonomous vehicles. The e-commerce giant has ordered 1,000 autonomous driving systems from Plus, which specializes in truck automation. This announcement, reported by Bloomberg, is accompanied by an option allowing Amazon to acquire 20% shares of the start-up at a fixed price.
Plus made itself known by crossing the United States from east to west with an autonomous truck, raised 200 million dollars in a funding round last February. Buying shares in PlusAI would allow the company to continue down this path, especially since the start-up recently announced its intention to go public. It plans to merge with Hennessy Capital V, a SPAC. Concretely, it is a company without operational activity whose securities are issued on a stock market for one or more acquisitions in a sector. Plus would receive $500 million and this deal would value PlusAI at $ 3.3 billion.
The Californian start-up was founded in 2016 by four Stanford students: David Liu, Hao Zheng, Shawn Kerrigan, and Tim Daly. It uses sensors, a deep learning algorithm, and simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) technology to make trucks self-sufficient. Plus wants to start mass production of its autonomous driving system as early as this year and ensures that nearly 10,000 units have been pre-ordered. They would also like to set up a sales and support network to help fleets integrate their autonomous driving solution into their daily operations.
Amazon’s appetite for autonomous driving systems is already known. They bought Zoox, a start-up that works on autonomous vehicles and the implementation of robotic taxi services. The benefits of vehicle automation on Amazon’s business appear significant as a large part of its e-commerce business consists of transporting and delivering products. Beyond long distances, Amazon is also thinking about last-mile automation.
Amazon is working on the development of an autonomous delivery robot. It took over the start-up Dispatch and then unveiled Scout, his six-wheeled delivery robot which is being tested in Irvine, California. At the same time, Amazon is considering the use of drones. Its Amazon Prime Air division has obtained the authorization to deploy a commercial drone delivery service. It has not yet specified where and when this service will be set up. The company, which operates several tests at sites in the northwest of the United States and around Vancouver, has already made experimental deliveries to the United Kingdom. It’s evident that autonomous driving is slowly becoming a staple of the digital age, and Amazon has everything to gain from paying attention to Plus AI.
Writer: Imaaz Nadeem
Reporter: Imaaz Nadeem