I had no idea how many places Amazon has its tentacles until I was working for an organization out of Chandler Arizona and Amazon Web Services was one of their/my accounts. They are practically in every sector and every industry you can imagine. Here’s another to add to their lengthy list. It’s called Zoox Robotaxi. Let me tell you more.
Zoox is an electric vehicle and is intended to replace conventional taxis. It will be driverless. It may be available in the not-too-distant future. Here’s the lowdown.
An autonomous Toyota Highlander is the basic level 3 vehicle for data collection. They are using them with a driver at this time, but he/she can override any system in the vehicle if need be. The person and vehicle are in the process of gathering city data in the locales they hope to deploy them. This allows them to create the most up-to-date maps to ensure that the vehicle is taking the safest routes once they take to the road.
What will the actual vehicle look like? (see video above and below) It is very much like the Rivian Amazon delivery vans currently in use if you have seen them.
There are some cool and distinctive details Amazon added to Zoox. For example, the Zoox has sliding doors like the subway train to allow passengers to board easily. The seats are also facing one another instead of set in rows as automobiles now are. The Zoox is able to drive in either direction without turning around and even sideways with its four way steering. That is called bidirectional. It houses two motors too.
The Zoox can carry a maximum of four passengers and is able to drive for an entire day without stopping to charge. The 133 kWh battery is the reason for its longevity between charging. The vehicle is equipped with radar, Lidar, and cameras to ensure safety all around. The airbag opens between the seats should the vehicle suffer an impact.
Zoox is being tested out with Amazon employees at this time and runs between Amazon’s two headquarters buildings in California. These structures are approximately one mile apart and traverse public roads.
To date, no specific public rollout has been announced. Amazon is noted for being somewhat conservative with its timelines because they are pushing for safety above all else. Stay tuned for updates. I promise to share.