Amazon’s Zoox unveils self-driving robotaxi
Zoox claims it’s reimagining transportation
Roll-out to begin in San Francisco and Las Vegas
Company will manufacture 10,000 to 15,000 per year
Amazon’s Zoox unveils self-driving robotaxi which is looking to replace human driven hailed taxi services across the globe with the ability to run both day and night, 16 hours, on a single charge.
Zoox Inc., a self-driving start up owned by Amazon.com Inc., has designed and built the self-driving carriage, also termed a robotaxi, which can accommodate four passengers and doesn’t have a steering wheel.
The vehicle accommodates a motor at each end of the carriage with two large battery packs nestled under each row of seats. The dual motor/battery combination enable the vehicle to drive in both directions, run for a period of 16-hours without charging, and reach a top cruising speed of 75 mph.
In the initial stages, Zoox is expecting to roll out the robotaxis on a drive-hailing app, similar to the likes of Uber, and will only be launched in San Francisco and Las Vegas in the first instance. However, assuming the test cities are successful it is easy to see how the self-driving taxi could become extremely popular and common place.
Zoox Chief Executive Officer, Aicha Evans, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television, “This is really about re-imagining transportation,”
The continued, “Not only do we have the capital required, we have the long-term vision.”
On their YouTube channel, Zoox says, “We’re reinventing personal transportation—making the future safer, cleaner, and more enjoyable for everyone. Over six years ago, the Zoox founders embarked on a journey to create a new type of vehicle. Fully autonomous, all-electric, and built for riders, not drivers. A ride-hailing vehicle designed for dense urban environments. Today, we revealed that vehicle to the world. This video will only be live for 24 hours, so check it out now. #ThisIsZoox”
Despite being a few years away from general roll-out, Zoox has tested the self-driving robotaxis on the streets of San Francisco for a promotional video. While there isn’t any other traffic on the roads, it does appear that the vehicle is more than capable of driving its way through streets and around roundabouts.
Zoox is currently on of a number of companies in the extremely intense and driven race towards becoming the first business to achieve a mass roll-out self-driving car to city streets. The company was acquired by Amazon in June 2020, however the price paid for the acquisition is as yet undisclosed.
Many of the current self-driving cars are retrofitted existing models, whereas Zoox has taken the concept of a self-driving vehicle to the Nth degree. Despite much ridicule during its development and there still being a number of years before a mass roll-out is achieved, the vehicles, in their signature mint-green colour, are being currently manufactured at a facility in Fremont, California. The factory has confirmed that once they have the go-ahead they are ready to produce anywhere between 10,000 to 15,000 vehicles annually.
Chief Technology Officer Jesse Levinson told Bloomberg TV, “Unlike many of the concept cars other companies have shown in the last several years this vehicle has passed all the FMVSS crash tests,”
Zoox are so confident in the end result that they are already planning for self-driving delivery vehicles for package deliveries.
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