- amazon-owned zoox today unveiled its "purpose-built robotaxi" that is fully autonomous and can seat four people seated face to face.
- the shuttle is 142.9 inches long, putting it about halfway between a smart fortwo and a toyota corolla, and has a top speed of 75 mph, the company claims.
- the shuttle will be built in the u.s., but there is no word on a manufacturing partner or a timeline for production.
the homogenization of autonomous shuttle design continued today, with amazon-owned zoox unveiling its vision of a robotaxi future. the name "zoox" is also the vehicle's name, which its maker says is "built for riders, not drivers."
the fully electric autonomous vehicle seats four passengers and has zero controls for a driver. its design is similar to what we've seen from cruise, toyota, and other companies working on self-driving shuttles. what sets the vehicle apart from those offerings is that zoox says it has a top speed of 75 mph, giving it the option of escaping from surface streets and hitting the freeway while in service. cruise has yet to announce a top speed for its origin, a similar autonomous shuttle unveiled last january.
the all-wheel-steering zoox is also bidirectional, meaning that no matter where you're going it's pointed in the right direction. it’s also equipped with a unique airbag system that, zoox says, gives each of the four passengers "five-star crash safety protections" because the airbags "envelop passengers." with all that, it's also much smaller than a traditional compact vehicle. at 142.9 inches long, it's almost 40 inches shorter than the 2021 toyota corolla.
as expected, the vehicle is outfitted with a host of sensors including lidar to help to navigate the road. the company says it has 360 degrees of overlapping views and can see nearly 500 feet away in every direction.
the level 5 autonomous vehicle (meaning it has no driver or controls and is able to handle driving conditions on its own) has a 133.0-kwh battery pack, which the company claims will allow it to operate for 16 continuous hours. unfortunately, that number doesn't really give us an indication of the range of the vehicle. but with a pack capacity above 130.0 kwh, it's likely to have a range of at least 300 miles, although this vehicle is still in the testing stages and these specs have not been proved yet.
zoox is currently testing in las vegas, as well as in san francisco and foster city in california's bay area. there's no word on when the zoox shuttle will be available for trips around town or which company amazon or zoox is working with for manufacturing. the company has said the robotaxi will be built in the united states, but no release date was named.