A self-driving-car startup filled with ex-Apple engineers is talking to Softbank about a funding round that could value it at $3 billion

Self DrivingLuc OreskovicA self-driving Toyota was spotted in San Francisco that could belong to Zoox’s autonomous driving fleet.

Zoox, a stealthy self-driving-car startup, is in talks with Japan’s Softbank about raising a big round of funding, Axios’ Kia Kokalitcheva reported on Monday.

The new round could value the three-year old Silicon Valley startup at a hefty $US3 billion to $US4 billion, according to the report.

Zoox has been testing a fleet of autonomous cars in California since March 2016. Business Insider recently spotted an unmarked autonomous car in San Francisco which appears to be the latest Zoox prototype.

The Axios report did not specify how much money Zoox is looking to raise.

Zoox has raised more than $US250 million in funding so far, and the new cash infusion could help it ramp up its plans as it competes in a crowded field dominated by tech heavyweights like Uber, Tesla, Apple and Google spinoff Waymo.

Zoox has made some big hires in recent months.

Seventeen Apple engineers left the tech giant in August to join Zoox, Bloomberg reported. Mark Rosekind, the former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, joined Zoox in April as Chief Safety Innovation Officer. Corrado Lanzone, Ferrari’s former operations director, joined Zoox in May as its vice president of manufacturing operations.

Representatives for Zoox and Softbank did not immediately return Business Insider’s requests for comment.

Softbank has invested in a variety of players in the autonomous-car space, including NVIDIA and Nauto.

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