Say Hello To Amazon’s Self-Driving Shuttle

Tue 15th Dec 2020

They’ve cornered the market for online home shopping and now Amazon have made their first steps into the brave new world of automotive vehicles.

Amazon acquired start-up Zoox in the summer and after just six months have revealed stunning images of their purpose-built robotaxi, a vehicle designed for urban travel, but one which is capable of reaching top speeds of 75mph.

The Zoox vehicle has no steering wheel, but is capable of bidirectional and four-wheel steering and to be expected is completely electric with a 133-kilowatt-hour battery which is capable of operating for 16 continuous hours.

“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 point B.”

The Zook robotaxi boasts unique safety features, including a revolutionary airbag system which can protect passengers from all sides and utilises both radar and LIDAR to provide a 270-degree field of view on all four corners, reducing any blind spots.

“Safety is the foundation of everything we do. Building a vehicle from the ground-up has given us the opportunity to reimagine passenger safety, shifting from reactive to proactive measures,” 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 FMVSS crash tests, and we are continuing to look for new, innovative ways to protect our riders and others on the road.”

The vehicle is currently being tested in San Francisco and Los Angeles.