Amazon and self-driving cars?

For a few years now, pretty much every big tech company has been doing something in the self-driving car space, and Amazon isn’t new to this (at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, they announced a partnership with Toyota), but their participation might be the least clear. Tesla, of course, makes sense. Alphabet (Google’s parent) has been running a subsidiary building self-driving cars since 2009. In their context, this makes sense, because they make way more money than they know what to do with, so they’re always investing in future tech. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Intel, and others are all working on technology for self-driving cars, which fits naturally with their business. For Amazon, however, while they certainly can derive benefit from self-driving cars (reducing costs associated with and improving speed of delivery — their internal fleet is already the fourth largest US delivery service), it’s absolutely unclear why they want to be in the car business (you don’t see DHL making trucks or FedEx making planes). This is a whole new level of vertical integration.

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