Earlier this year Amazon purchased the self-driving startup Zoox for $1.2 billion, marking one of the company’s largest overall investments. Now, it looks as though that investment is finally starting to pay off.
Zoox unveiled its first autonomous vehicle under Amazon ownership, the Zoox robotaxi, and instead of designing the vehicle with a human driver in mind, the robotaxi was designed to autonomously scoot around dense urban areas.
To achieve this goal, the vehicle features four-wheel steering, which enables manoeuvring through compact spaces and changing directions without the need to reverse. It also measures in at just 3.63m long, meaning it has one of the smallest footprints in the automotive industry.
In terms of the interior, the robotaxi features a four-seat, face-to-face symmetrical seating configuration that eliminates the steering wheel and bench seating normally seen in conventional car designs.
The vehicle also features a 133 kWh battery, which makes it one of the largest batteries available in electric vehicles today, allowing it to operate for up to 16 continuous hours on a single charge.
According to Aicha Evans, Zoox Chief Executive Officer, “Revealing our functioning and driving vehicle is an exciting milestone in our company’s history and marks an important step on our journey towards deploying an autonomous ride-hailing service.”
“We are transforming the rider experience to provide superior mobility-as-a-service for cities. And as we see the alarming statistics around carbon emissions and traffic accidents, it’s more important than ever that we build a sustainable, safe solution that allows riders to get from point A to point B,” he added.
Safety was one of the main concerns when developing the robotaxi. The vehicle makes use of cameras, radar, and LIDAR to obtain an unrivalled 270-degree field of view on all four corners of the car. This technology eliminates typical blind spots and allows the vehicle to consistently track objects next to and behind it, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users.
Take a look at the unveiling below: