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Intel veteran takes wheel of self-driving car startup Zoox

[SAN FRANCISCO] Intel veteran Aicha Evans will lead self-driving car startup Zoox from next month, becoming a rare high-profile black chief executive in a Silicon Valley.

The Senegal native will become head of Zoox, and a member of the startup's board starting on February 26.

"I'm thrilled to join Zoox and challenge the status quo with an autonomous mobility system built from the ground up," Ms Evans said in a statement.

"Mobility is approaching a major inflection point, and Zoox has set itself apart from entrenched players."

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Technology titans including Alphabet and Uber along with major automakers have been racing to get self-driving vehicles, or platforms helping power them, to market.

Based in Foster City near San Francisco, Zoox was founded in 2014 with a mission to build a "fleet of fully autonomous, battery electric, zero-emission vehicles that are purpose-built and optimized for ridesharing in cities."

Zoox has raised more than US$750 million in financing and boasts a team of more than 700 people.

"Our team has made incredible progress since we started in 2014," said Zoox co-founder and chief technology officer Jesse Levinson.

"I'm excited to partner with Aicha as we forge our own path and show the world what the next generation of mobility looks like."

Ms Evans is going to Zoox after spending 12 years at US chipmaker Intel, where her most recent role was that of chief strategy officer.

AFP