Amazon-owned Zoox has begun offering rides in fully autonomous robot taxis in California after receiving approval from the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Unlike Cruise or Waymo autonomous cars, Zoox robot taxis are designed as driverless, because they are not equipped with a steering wheel and pedals.
On February 11, Zoox took the first shuttle ride for employees in Foster City, California. This is the first ever trip of a fully autonomous robotaxi without traditional controls, which transported passengers on public roads, according to company press release.
To achieve this, the company’s robot taxis have undergone “rigorous” testing on private roads. In general, Zoox has been developing its unique vehicles for nine years. In 2020, the company was bought by Amazon for $1.2 billion. Zoox robot taxis are quite compact (length 3.63 m), inside there are seats for passengers facing each other. All four wheels can turn, making the vehicle very manoeuvrable. The maximum speed is up to 120 km/h, on one battery charge with a capacity of 133 kWh, the robot taxi can travel for 16 hours.
Zoox offers employees rides between offices in Foster City during business hours. “As the company continues to advance its progress and secure additional government clearances, it will expand its service to the general public,” the company said.