Amazon has been taking steps toward releasing a robotaxi and it says that it could hit streets sooner than expected.
- Amazon is making gains toward the creation of a fully autonomous robotaxi.
- Amazon purchased robotaxi company Zoox to create fully autonomous vehicles in 2020.
- Zoox CEO Aicha Evans says the vehicles could be present in cities “sooner than people expect.”
Why it’s important
Amazon is always fighting to come out with the next big thing when it comes to technology. One big venture could be hitting the streets sooner rather than later.
Amazon purchased Zoox in 2020 to begin creating driverless robotaxis. The tech company is developing autonomous vehicles that it calls robotaxis—machines that have no steering wheel or pedals and can carry as many as four passengers.
Not only will these vehicles be a big step in passenger carrying cars, but also could be a big addition to Amazon’s delivery fleet.
Amazon delivers about 1.6 million packages a day. With the addition of the robotaxis to its delivery team Amazon would never have to stop delivering packages.
Zoox CEO says she expects the vehicles to hit streets soon, but didn’t give an exact date.
“We don’t get into dates at Zoox; we prefer to show, not tell,” she says, adding “testing has already started.”
Zoox plans to bring the initial fleet to big cities and continue to expand from there, but Evans said the big challenge will be moving on from those initial cities and maintaining a user experience that’s consistent.
“Our focus is being on public roads with our robotaxi soon, but it’ll be to a small-to-moderate scale,” Evans says. “The question is our ability to add cities on a continual basis that’s good for customers.”
Evans remains confident in the Zoox robotaxi and thinks that it will be the “beginning of a wave” for autonomous driving.
Backing up a bit
This isn’t Amazon’s only step into the robotic world, the company also purchased Cloostermans, a company known for developing technology to manage robotic traffic flow in warehouses.
The Belgian company will join Amazon’s robotics system as the company takes further steps toward fully automating its logistics.
Amazon has been using the company’s technology in its warehouses since 2019. Now, it will use the company’s technology to improve employee safety and help employees work alongside robots.