Zoox, an autonomous vehicle company purchased by Amazon earlier this year, has unveiled their autonomous electric vehicle intended for use in dense urban environments.
Designed with no steering wheel and two interior benches that face each other and can seat four people, the electric vehicle (EV) is not a consumer car but rather a purpose-built robotaxi. To better maneuver through compact spaces, the EV has four wheel steering and bidirectional driving capabilities, meaning there is no need for a reverse gear.
To ensure the safety of passengers, the Zoox robotaxi has over 100 safety innovations, including an air bag system developed specifically to protect the occupants in the carriage seating format of a bidirectional vehicle. The EV will also feature an array of cameras, radar, and LIDAR that eliminates blind spots and gives it a 270° field of view that allows it to track surrounding objects at all times.
“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 electric robotaxi measures just under 12 feet in length, making it smaller than a standard Mini Cooper. Despite the small size, it comes equipped with a large 133kWh battery pack that according to the company can operate for up to 16 hours on a single charge.
According to the company, the robotaxi is currently being tested in Las Vegas, Nevada and San Francisco and Foster City, California.
Zoox has already shown off some impressive footage of a Toyota Highlander equipped with their self-driving technology navigating through the streets of San Francisco earlier this year.