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

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 18,814,178 — Total deaths: 707,754— Total recoveries — 11,361,953Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 4,823,891 — Total deaths: 158,256 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Public health: Florida surpasses 500,000 confirmed casesFauci calls U.S. coronavirus testing delays "totally unacceptable."
  4. Business: America's next housing crisis.
  5. States: Virginia launches contact tracing app using specs from Apple and Google.
  6. Cities: L.A. mayor authorizes utilities shut-off at homes hosting large gatherings
  7. Politics: White House, Democrats remain "trillions of dollars apart" on stimulus talks.
12 mins ago - World

Hiroshima mayor warns of rise of nationalism on 75th anniversary

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) at the Memorial Cenotaph in the Peace Memorial Park during the 75th anniversary service for atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima, Japan, on Thursday. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

Hiroshima's Mayor Kazumi Matsui on Thursday urged the international community to work together to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and warned against an increase in "self-centered nationalism," per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: He said at a remembrance service on the atomic bombing of the Japanese city that the 1918 flu pandemic killed millions as countries fighting in World War I were unable to overcome the threat together, per DPR. "A subsequent upsurge in nationalism led to World War II," he added. The U.S. bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 and Nagasaki three days later contributed to the end of World War II, but tens of thousands of people died. At the service, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lamented nuclear weapons' "inhumanity," but he didn't mention Japan's wartime past, WashPost noted.

Go deeper: How new tech raises the risk of nuclear war

LeBron James on Trump NBA protest remarks: "We could care less"

The Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Wednesday. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LeBron James responded on Wednesday night to President Trump's comments calling NBA players "disgraceful" for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and that he won't watch games because of the action.

The big picture: Trump has repeatedly criticized sports players for taking the knee since 2016. But James said during a news conference, "I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game." November's elections marked "a big moment for us as Americans," he said. "If we continue to talk about, 'We want better, we want change,' we have an opportunity to do that," he added. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will "respect peaceful protest."

Go deeper: LeBron James forms voting rights group to inspire Black voters