Zoox is Testing the Robotaxi on Californian Roads
21 February 23
Zoox a subsidiary of Amazon that develops self-driving vehicles had their first tests of the robotaxi on the public roads. On February 13th Zoox’s self-driving taxi made a successful journey on Californian roads driving company’s employees to a set destination.
Representatives of Zoox have said in the past that they plan to use their robotaxis to help their employees commute between the offices and in turn gather valuable data to improve its self-driving capabilities.
The vehicle can carry up to 4 people at a time and exceed speeds of 35 miles an hour.
Some may be concerned about a fleet of autonomous vehicles driving around on the same streets as they do. The startup ensures concerned road users that the robotaxi underwent ‘rigorous’ testing on private roads and has acquired all the necessary approvals from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to successfully and legally operate on public roads.
According to Zoox, the robotaxi can take left and right turns, stop at traffic lights and stop signs, as well as avoid pedestrians, various obstacles, and other road users.
The Zoox robotaxi does not closely resemble a car. At least not as we know it. There is no steering wheel, no pedals, no way to control the vehicle from the inside. According to Zoox, there simply is no need for it.
The seating in the robotaxi is arranged around the passenger comfort, with two bench seats facing each other. Not too dissimilar to the horse pulled coaches of yesteryear.
At this stage of its development the Zoox robotaxi can still be referred to as a technological experiment. It is still too early to determine which markets could be targeted by Zoox and whether it will be a commercial success.
With giants like Alphabet, Nvidia, Tesla, Ford, Volkswagen, and General Motors spending more and more each year on R&D to make autonomous driving a reality, don’t be surprised if sometime soon you will be driven to your destination in an autonomous vehicle.