FOSTER CITY, CA—Zoox, a ride hailing subsidiary of Amazon, has unveiled its much-anticipated autonomous vehicle. The electric robotaxi is designed to operate in dense urban environments. It features bidirectional driving capabilities and four-wheel steering that enables the vehicle to maneuver through compact spaces and change directions without the need to reverse.
Zoox claims that the mint green-colored EV is equipped with more than 100 new safety innovations that don’t exist in conventional vehicles. “These include a novel airbag system for bidirectional vehicles and carriage seating that envelops passengers—the equivalent of five-star crash safety protections for all four seats,” says Jesse Levinson, chief technology officer.
“The unique sensor architecture combines cameras, radar and LiDAR to obtain an unrivaled 270-degree field of view from all four corners of the vehicle, eliminating typical blind spots and allowing the vehicle to consistently track objects next to, and behind it—including pedestrians, cyclists and other road users,” explains Levinson.
“Safety is the foundation of everything we do,” claims Levinson. “Building a vehicle from the ground-up has given us the opportunity to reimagine passenger safety. These include new safety features such as our airbag design, redundant hardware throughout the vehicle, and a custom AI stack that detects and mitigates potential risks.”
The robotaxi, which is capable of operating at speeds up to 75 mph in both directions, is currently being tested in Las Vegas and San Francisco. The vehicles are being assembled at a factory in Fremont, CA, that has a capacity to mass-produce up to 15,000 units annually.