The self-driving firm Zoox from Amazon presents autonomous robotaxi

The self-driving company Zoox from Amazon presented its autonomous robotaxi on Monday.

Zoox

Zoox, Amazon’s autonomous vehicle company, is taking off the packaging for its first self-driving robotic taxi.

On Monday, Zoox unveiled an electric, fully driverless vehicle that was built for driving in hail. It is a “cart” car, which means that the passengers face each other and there is no space for a driver or passenger seat as there is no steering wheel. It can accommodate up to four passengers.

Amazon acquired the six-year-old start-up in June, at which point it gave only a few details about how the use of Zoox technology was planned. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has previously expressed his enthusiasm for the auto industry, and the company has used self-driving trucks to move cargo. Over time, autonomous vehicles like those planned by Zoox could fit into Amazon’s sprawling logistics network by making last-mile delivery cheaper and faster than before.

Amazon acquired the six-year-old start-up in June, at which point it gave only a few details about how the use of Zoox technology was planned

Zoox

The Robotaxi has a few features that set it apart from competitors like Alphabet’s Waymo, GM’s Cruise, Uber and Tesla. It has bi-directional driving capabilities and all-wheel steering that allows it to change direction without turning around and navigating in compact spaces.

A series of cameras, radar and lidar sensors are attached to all four corners of the vehicle, eliminating “typical blind spots” and giving it a 270-degree field of view on the road. The car can go up to 75 miles per hour and run for up to 16 hours on a single charge. It is also equipped with an airbag system on all four seats.

The autonomous car from Zoox can accommodate up to four passengers.

Zoox

The vehicle is designed for hail driving in urban environments. Zoox said it is currently testing in three cities – Las Vegas, Nevada; Foster City, California; and San Francisco, California.

The company plans to launch an app-based ridesharing service in the future. The first target markets will be San Francisco and Las Vegas, Zoox said.

“Zoox is the first in the industry to introduce a moving, purpose-built robotic taxi that can travel up to 75 mph,” the company said in a statement to CNBC. “Although our vehicle is not yet ready for commercial use, this is an important milestone in our vision of building an autonomous robot taxi fleet and a hail service.”

It comes after GM Cruise subsidiary unveiled its own driverless shuttle called Origin in January. Like the Zoox vehicle, it does not have manual controls such as pedals or a steering wheel.

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