Amazon Just Locked in the Option to Buy Stake in an AI Truck-Driving Startup

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E-commerce giant Amazon may have just kicked off its annual Amazon Prime day event, but the company is also making headlines for its big order for self driving systems.

It seems that Amazon has placed an order for 1,000 autonomous driving systems from self-driving truck technology startup Plus and has acquired the option to buy a stake of as much as 20%,.

This is according to a regulatory filing from Plus which was confirmed in an earlier Bloomberg report.

The filing shows that Amazon has the right to buy preferred shares of Plus via a warrant at a price of $0.46647 per share. That amounts to a roughly 20% stake based on Plus’s shares outstanding before its planned merger with special purpose acquisition company Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V.

Plus is developing autonomous driving technology for long-haul trucking and is set to have a valuation of $3.3 billion, adding $500 million in proceeds to accelerate its expansion, the company said in a statement in May.

The company raised $150 million from so-called private investment in public equity, or PIPE, from funds including BlackRock Inc. and D.E. Shaw.

According to a statement in April, Plus has been working with Chinese delivery company SF Holding Co., which uses Plus-enabled trucks that can cover 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) a day. State-owned China FAW Group Co. plans to start mass production of jointly-developed autonomous trucks this quarter, Plus has also said.

Founded in 2016, Plus is backed by investors including Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., GSR Ventures Management and China’s long-haul company Full Truck Alliance (as pronounced in English).

The company also has a partnership with European truckmaker Iveco SpA and is working with Cummins Inc. on using autonomous technology in trucks powered by natural gas.

Disclaimer: We have no position in any of the companies mentioned and have not been compensated for this article.