The global interest in self driving cars is rising at a rapid pace and new companies are getting in on the ground floor of the futuristic action. With an eye on the horizon, Zoox, a secretive Silicon Valley startup is raising money at a good pace. The flow of funding is a strong indication of the interest in autonomous driving technology and it’s a boost for the team at Zoox who may soon be realizing their dreams. It is currently estimated that Zoox has raised in the neighborhood of $1.55 billion, or at least this is their current valuation per the Wall Street Journal report. It shows a rapid growth rate for the company over the last few months.
Who is Zoox?
Zoox is a company with a focus on creating driverless auto technology by inventing smart vehicles with the capacity for comprehending the environment and surroundings as well as the occupants with regard to their desired locations, preferred routes and all aspects of individualized travel with safety as a key component. The company was founded in 2014 by Tim Kentley-Klay, entrepreneur from Australia and Jesse Levinson of prestigious Stanford University.
Levinson oversees the University’s self driving car program. They have secured a team of top notch professionals including engineers from Apple, Google Parent Alphabet and Tesla. The established goal of Zoox is to establish a fleet of vehicles which are fully autonomous and will offer ride sharing services for clients. The targeted date for completion of this project is set for sometime in the year 2020.
Competition as an impetus for action
The fundraising effort has been immense and has obviously paid off. When going up against other companies intent on establishing driverless auto services, money is the means for getting there first. Zoox is doing a decent job of securing the necessary Capital with backers including the AID Partners Capital Holdings for $20 million from Hong Kong, Hong Kong hedge fund Composite Capital with former Chinese fund manager at Hillhouse Capital Group David Ma, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Lux Capital and Blackbird Ventures. This healthy listing of backers has helped to drive the valuation to its current status.
The financial backing puts the Zoox company in a better position for gaining leverage in the automated car race, but there are still plenty of roadblocks and obstacles along the way that must be overcome. With a focus on building eco-friendly vehicles, emissions control shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Zoox has secured the approval of the California Department of Motor Vehicles to begin testing their vehicles within the state on public roads. While this is great news, Zoox wasn’t the only company given the green light. There are an additional eighteen other companies with the same plans who also gained approval from the CDMV.
Current and future activities of Zoox
While it’s a given that people are interested in knowing more about the progress that Zoox is making, the upper level is being fairly tight lipped. They’re not particularly interested in giving us a preview of their technology or their progress at this point. We’re assuming that they have a strong interests in protecting their confidential information and do not want the competition to catch wind of where they are in the process.
Their official website only gives you a look at their company logo. It’s highly likely that more will be shared in the upcoming months so we’ll just have to wait to find out if they choose to disclose any information about their progress. With Uber having just sent a fleet of self-drivers out into the Pittsburgh area, the pressure is on Zoox to get with the program.
Issues affecting driverless car technology companies
Just recently, Comma, one of Zoox’s competitors in the race was forced to top production and delay their launch date of the product that they’ve been working on. The National HIghway Traffic Safety Administration sent them a list that included safety issues which they identified with Comma’s new technology. The organization threatened the company with hefty fines of up to $21,000 per day if they launched the products and were found in violation of any of the regulations for public safety.
It appears that companies wishing to proceed will out of necessity have to hire a fleet of lawyers just to cut through the red tape in order to market their products and services. We know that Comma has pulled back on their efforts but it is unclear how the administration of Zoox is viewing this latest setback to the new industry just forming.
What does the future hold for Zoox?
It’s difficult to tell exactly where this secretive company is at with regard to their production schedules. We’re still waiting for updates on their progress which are not yet available. We know that they have a target date of 2020 to launch their initial fleet and perhaps by this time some of the kinks that are holding other companies back will get worked out. On this front, only time will tell. If all goes according to plan, Zoox appears to have a very bright future.
In a world which is turning to smart technology for electronics, communication devices, household temperature controls and appliances, it follows the sequence of logic that transportation would be next on the list. We believe that Zoox has a better than average chance for advancing quickly if their fundraising is any indication.
In a rapidly changing world, we’re all working harder to keep up with the new trends and customer demands. We’re seeing more new startups such as Zoox preparing to charter new territories in technological advancement. Zoox has gone about their business in the right way and although they aren’t’ sharing much about their progress, we can assume by the caliber of financial backers that they ae up to something that is lucrative.
We expect to hear more about this company in the near future with updates on their progress or possibly additional rounds of funding. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open for more about this exciting new company.