Amazon’s self-driving vehicle Zoox is moving closer to commercial service after completing test drives on public roads with employees as passengers.
- Amazon’s self-driving robotaxi Zoox completed successful test runs on public roads.
- The vehicles have no steering wheel or pedals and can carry as many as four passengers with two facing each other.
- The test drive was conducted on a mile stretch of public road between two Zoox buildings at its headquarters in Foster City, California.
- Employees could use the vehicle as a free shuttle service to another Zoox building while helping the company improve the vehicle’s technology.
Why it’s news
Amazon is one step closer to releasing its self-driving robotaxi after completing employee-loaded test drives at its Zoox headquarters in Foster City, California.
Amazon has been trying to get into the self-driving space for a while, buying Zoox for $1.3 billion in 2020, but the technology has been harder to create than expected and has faced many setbacks over the last few years.
Despite the setbacks, the company has pushed forward and is nearing commercialization after completing multiple test drives at its California headquarters.
“Putting the vehicle on an open public road and validating our approach to all of the different requirements, including regulatory, is a big step, and we would not have done it unless internally we were already looking at the line of sight for going commercial,” says Zoox CEO Aicha Evans.
Zoox robotaxis differ from other companies as its vehicles were built from the beginning as a self-driving robotaxi and aren’t regular vehicles with self-driving capabilities. The Zoox vehicles have no steering wheel or pedals and can carry as many as four passengers with two facing each other.
The company did not give an exact date of when it hopes the vehicles could reach commercialization, but when the vehicles are ready, they could help carry passengers and also help 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.