Zoox on Monday launched an electric vehicle, completely driverless, designed for running. It is a “carriage” type car, which means that the passengers face each other and there is no room 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 and, at the time, gave few details on how it planned to use Zoox’s technology. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has previously expressed his enthusiasm for the auto industry and the company uses self-driving trucks to transport goods. Over time, autonomous vehicles like those envisioned by Zoox could fit into Amazon’s vast logistics network, making last mile delivery cheaper and faster than ever before.
A set of cameras, radar and lidar sensors are mounted to the four corners of the car, eliminating “typical blind spots” and giving it a 270-degree field of view on the road. The car can travel up to 75 miles per hour and can run for up to 16 hours on a single charge. It is also equipped with an airbag system on all four seats.
The company plans to launch an app-based ridesharing service in the future. Its first target markets will be San Francisco and Las Vegas, Zoox said.
“Zoox is the first in the industry to introduce a specially designed driving robotaxi capable of operating at speeds of up to 120 km / h,” the company told CNBC in a statement. “Although our vehicle is not yet ready for commercial use, this marks a key step towards our vision of building a fleet of autonomous robot taxis and a remote assistance service. ”
It comes after GM’s cruise subsidiary unveiled its own driverless shuttle, called Origin, in January. Like Zoox’s vehicle, it does not have manual controls like pedals or a steering wheel.