Amazon's Zoox is currently running its self-driving cab on public roads

Amazon’s Zoox is currently running its self-driving cab on public roads

Zoox, an Amazon-owned startup, has begun delivering autonomous robotaxi trips in California after acquiring a testing permission from the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Unlike Cruise and Waymo’s autonomous cars, Zoox’s vehicles are designed specifically for driverless taxi trips, thus they lack a steering wheel and pedals.

Zoox executed its “first run of its employee shuttle service in Foster City, California, marking the first time in history a purpose-built autonomous robotaxi without standard driving controls transported passengers on open public highways,” according to a news statement.

To get to that position, the business conducted “rigorous” testing on private roads using the cars. It also drove nearly a million autonomous miles in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Seattle with its L3 test fleet (hybrid Toyota Highlanders with safety drivers).

Zoox has been developing its unique cars since its inception nine years ago, and it was bought by Amazon in the summer of 2020 in a $1.2 billion merger. Its later-introduced robotaxis are relatively small at 3.63 metres (11.9 feet) long, with passenger bench seats that face each other, four-wheel steering, and can travel in either direction. Because of the massive 133kWh battery packs, they can travel at speeds of up to 75 MPH and last for 16 hours on a single charge.

During business hours, Zoox will now provide full-time workers with robotaxi trips between its Foster City locations. “As the firm progresses and obtains further government permits, it will broaden its service to the broader public,” the company stated.

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