The company, which was acquired by Amazon earlier this year, says it is the first in the industry to showcase a driving, purpose-built robotaxi capable of operating up to 75 miles per hour. Designed and manufactured in the U.S., the vehicle is offered as the first to feature bidirectional driving capabilities and four-wheel steering, which enables maneuvering through compact spaces and changing directions without the need to reverse.
At 3.63 m long, the vehicle has one of the smallest footprints in the automotive industry, and features a four-seat, face-to-face symmetrical seating configuration that eliminates the steering wheel and bench seating seen in conventional car designs. The vehicle also features a 133 kWh battery – one of the largest available in electric vehicles today – allowing it to operate for up to 16 continuous hours on a single charge, says the company.
“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,” says 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 vehicle design, says the company, has more than 100 safety innovations not featured in conventional cars, including a novel airbag system for bidirectional vehicles and carriage seating that envelops passengers, which is equal to five-star crash safety protections for all four seats. The vehicle uses a unique sensor architecture of cameras, radar, and LIDAR to obtain a 270-degree field of view on 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, bicyclists, and other road users.
“Safety is the foundation of everything we do,” says Jesse Levinson, Zoox Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder. “Building a vehicle from the ground-up has given us the opportunity to reimagine passenger safety, shifting from reactive to proactive measures. 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 [Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard] crash tests, and we are continuing to look for new, innovative ways to protect our riders and others on the road.”
The company was founded in 2014 with a vision of purpose-built, zero-emissions vehicles designed for autonomous ride-hailing, along with an end-to-end autonomy software stack. The company currently operates as an independent subsidiary of Amazon and is currently testing in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Foster City, California.
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