Zoox, Amazon’s division for self-driving vehicles, successfully tested a robotaxi, or driverless taxi, on a public road with Amazon employees as passengers. They are now one step closer to offering them to the general public as a commercial service.
With Zoox, Amazon hopes to launch a free shuttle service for employees that will also help the company improve its technology and sell it to city councils, universities, and other institutions with large enclosed campuses. The most recent test was carried out on February 11, 2023, between two Zoox buildings that were approximately a mile apart at the company’s headquarters in Foster City, California.
Chief Executive Aicha Evans said that, putting the vehicle on an open public road and validating our approach to all of the different requirements, including regulatory, that it was a big step. They would not have done it unless internally they were already looking at the line of sight for going commercial.
Due primarily to the fact that they are still awaiting additional government clearances and licenses, Amazon and Zoox have yet to set a date for the commercial launch of their services.
Zoox’s robotaxi was built from the ground up as a completely autonomous vehicle, as opposed to adapting existing vehicles for self-driving. It has room for four passengers, two of whom are facing each other, but no pedals or steering wheel.
In 2020, as part of its ambitious expansion into self-driving technologies, Amazon bought Zoox for $1.3 billion.
Zoox also put out a video to promote their robot axis breaking up a race track. Zoox’s robotaxi is one of the few vehicles in the world that can operate without a driver, reaching a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour.