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Zoox CEO Aicha Evans. Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Zoox is in "advanced discussions with several strategic partners and corporate investors" for its next round of funding, CEO Aicha Evans tells Axios.

Why it matters: The self-driving car developer has been especially quiet for the past year or so, and venture capital sources say the company has struggled to raise capital to fund its ambitious plans.

  • Last October, it raised $200 million in convertible note funding, which it said it would fold into an upcoming Series C round that has yet to occur.

Yes, but: Evans, a former Intel executive marking her one-year anniversary with Zoox, said, "This year is a huge year. We are finally showing the world what we've been up to."

Zoox is more ambitious than most AV tech startups, with plans to operate its own ride-hailing service using a purpose-built robotaxi currently under development.

  • The bi-directional electric taxi, with four-wheel steering and active suspension, will be revealed later this year, Evans said in an interview.
  • It has already passed federal crash safety tests and durability testing, she added.
  • Early commercial pilots will begin in 2021.

Where it stands: Zoox continues to develop its self-driving technology using Toyota SUVs on some of the most difficult streets of San Francisco.

  • I was impressed by the state of their technology a year ago, and a more recent assessment by Autonocast co-host Ed Niedermeyer suggests Zoox has improved even more.

The bottom line: It takes a lot of capital to develop autonomous vehicle technology; even more so to design and build a vehicle and then launch a ride-hailing network.

  • Evans, who once ran strategy for Intel, is confident in the company's plan and says it will have the capital to bring its vehicle to market.
  • "Let the doubters doubt."

Go deeper

17 mins ago - Health

Aduhelm is bombing

The average list price of Aduhelm is roughly $4,300 per monthly infusion. Photo: Biogen

Biogen sold $300,000 worth of Aduhelm in the third quarter, well below Wall Street's expectations, which prompted analysts at Raymond James to call the Alzheimer's drug "potentially the worst drug launch of all time" amid Biogen's "persistent hyperbole about the drug's purported benefits."

The big picture: Aduhelm's controversial approval and high price tag have shaped the market reaction. Health insurers are hesitant to cover Aduhelm until Medicare makes a decision next year, and doctors aren't embracing the drug either.

17 mins ago - Health

COVID cases and deaths keep falling

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

America’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly improving as the Delta wave recedes, and vaccines for kids — which could become available within weeks — will help the situation improve even further.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is now averaging about 79,000 new cases per day — a 22% drop over the past two weeks.

4 hours ago - Health

India crosses 1 billion COVID vaccinations milestone

A health worker inoculates a COVID-19 vaccine dose to a man wearing a face mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Beawar, India, in September. Photo: Sumit Saraswat/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Thursday that the country's health workers have now administered more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines doses.

Of note: While this is a significant milestone for the country of 1.4 billion, which has been devastated by the coronavirus, only about 30% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, per AP. Roughly 75% has received at least one dose.

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