The Wall street Journal reported in May. Wu is a former president of Investec Asia, a subsidiary of Investec Bank (UK) in Asia, and previously served as managing director of China Everbright Capital. One the startup’s early backers is Sydney-based Blackbird Ventures, which, among others, is itself backed by Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, the Australian Financial Review said. Zoox is developing fully autonomous vehicles and the supporting ecosystem required to bring the technology to market at scale. “We believe the transition to self-driving vehicles requires a combination of elegant vision and uncompromising execution,” the company says. Sitting at the intersection of robotics, machine learning, and design, Zoox aims to provide the next generation of mobility-as-a-service in urban environments. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup was co-founded in July 2014 by CEO Tim Kentley-Klay, an Australian entrepreneur who previously ran an animation studio, and CTO Jessee Levinson, previously a member of Stanford University’s autonomous driving team. In November 2013, Zoox made a big splash at the LA auto show when it unveiled its plans to develop a fully autonomous Level 4 vehicle. The imagery was spectacular and many of the concepts were revolutionary, according to Driverless Transportation analysts. Level 4 is the highest level of the NHTSA’s autonomous driving scale, and it reportedly serves as the basis for future Zoox self-driving vehicles.
“LEVEL 4 – Full Self-Driving Automation: The vehicle is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip. Such a design anticipates that the driver will provide destination or navigation input, but is not expected to be available for control at any time during the trip. This includes both occupied and unoccupied vehicles.” –National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)[caption id="attachment_432698" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Zoox (“Boz”) 2013 early prototype interior design. Source: Gizmag.com[/caption] “We don’t see ourselves as an autonomous car company,” said Kentley-Klay at a private investor presentation in May. “We actually see ourselves as a robotics company, not an automotive company. And I think when you look at mobility through that lens, you start thinking differently.” In March 2016, Zoox became one of about a dozen companies to be awarded a permit to test a self-driving vehicle on the roads of California. Zoox reportedly has more than 140 people working on its secret project, many with PhDs, who are currently focused on developing the artificial intelligence needed to power autonomous vehicles. Zoox is facing massive competition from Google, Apple, Tesla, Ford, Uber and many other industry giants. In March, General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) announced the acquisition of San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle technology startup Cruise Automation, reportedly for over $1 billion. In addition, BMW (ETR: BMW) just announced it is developing fully autonomous ride-sharing vehicles to be launched in 5 years, relying on technology from Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) and Israeli pioneer Mobileye N.V. (NYSE: MBLY), a global leader in autonomous driving technologies. Mobileye in turn has previously announced multiple partnerships with VW, GM, Nissan and others. Photo: Zoox (“Boz”) Early Prototype Design. (Gizmag)]]>