Zoox Inc, the Amazon-owned startup has unveiled a fully autonomous electric robotaxi, a driverless carriage that can travel day and night. The carriage can carry as many as four people at a time, the company said.
The robotaxis have been made to easily maneuver in hectic streets. The carriage has the ability to travel in either direction without having to reverse. The cube-like vehicle would have no steering wheels and can run at a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour. The four seats are placed symmetrically, two on either side of the vehicle facing each other, like train seats. The vehicles will have a 133-kilowatt-hour battery which the company said runs for 16 hours a day. No mileage limit of the battery was mentioned by the company.
The vehicle would also have airbags for bidirectional vehicles and the company claims a five-star crash safety protections for all four seats. It also has carriage seating which envelops the passenger. The vehicle also comes with cameras and lidar, which helps in tracking all four corners of the vehicle. Zook says this helps them to track all four corners of the vehicle and track objects next to and behind it, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users.
Zoox CTO Jesse Levinson said, “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.” He also added that as the company built the vehicle from the ground up they were able to provide added safety features for the passengers. The vehicle has also passed key Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards crash tests.
Zoox plans to launch an app-based ride-hailing service in cities like San Francisco and Las Vegas. The company also has plans to launch robotaxis in other countries in the future.
The company, however, did not disclose any information about how much the service would cost. The service is expected to be available at prices competitive with its rivals like Uber and Lyft in the USA. Also, no information about the exact launch date has been revealed. The company has however said that it would not launch in 2021. No information has also been revealed on whether the company has got FMVSS approval to operate the vehicle.