Amazon Subsidiary Zoox Unveils Autonomous Robotaxi
December 16, 2020
The purpose-built vehicle is designed to operate in dense, complicated
urban environments, with more than 100 new safety innovations that don’t exist
in conventional vehicles.
Zoox, an independent subsidiary of Amazon, shared a look at its fully
functional, electric, autonomous vehicle created for dense, urban environments.
Designed and manufactured in the U.S., the robotaxi is capable of operating up
to 75 miles per hour in both directions.
The reveal, six years in the making, marks a key milestone toward the company’s
vision of building an autonomous robotaxi fleet and ride-hailing service
designed with passengers in mind.
Zoox is reinventing personal transportation—making the future safer, cleaner,
and more enjoyable for all. Zoox created the first vehicle with bi-directional
driving capabilities and four-wheel steering, allowing the vehicle to maneuver
through compact spaces and change directions without the need to reverse.
“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,” said Aicha Evans, Zoox Chief Executive
Officer. “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
mobility will provide a paradigm shift in safety—from reactive to proactive. In
building a vehicle from the ground up, Zoox engineers have added a fundamental
layer of proactive crash prevention, including more than 100 safety innovations
that do not exist in conventional cars. These include a novel airbag system for
bi-directional vehicles and carriage seating that envelops passengers—the
equivalent of five-star crash safety protections for all four seats. The unique
sensor architecture combines cameras, radar, and LIDAR to obtain an unrivaled
270-degree field of view from all four corners of the vehicle, eliminating
typical blind spots and allowing the vehicle to consistently track objects next
to, and behind it—including pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users.
“Safety is the foundation of everything we do. Building a vehicle from the
ground-up has given us the opportunity to reimagine passenger safety,” said
Jesse Levinson, Zoox Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder. “These include new
safety features such as our airbag design, redundant hardware throughout the
vehicle, a unique sensor architecture, and a custom AI stack that detects and
mitigates potential risks. Our vehicle has passed key Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standards (FMVSS) crash tests, and we are continuing to look for new,
innovative ways to protect our riders and others on the road.”
Zoox was founded in 2014 and was acquired by Amazon in 2020. Zoox is currently
testing in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and other Bay Area locations.