The unique vehicle is designed and manufactured in the United States.
Autonomous mobility company Zoox this week announced its fully functional, electric, autonomous vehicle designed for dense, urban environments. The company now claims it is the first in the industry to showcase a driving, purpose-built robotaxi capable of operating up to 75 miles per hour.
Amazon acquired Zoox earlier this year for $1.2 Billion. This marks the first product announcement since the acquisition.
Bidirectional driving and other unique features
Zoox is the only vehicle to offer bidirectional driving capabilities and four-wheel steering, This enables maneuvering through compact spaces and changing directions without the need to reverse.
At 3.63m long, the vehicle has one of the smallest footprints in the automotive industry.
The Zoox robotaxi features a four-seat, face-to-face symmetrical seating configuration. This design eliminates the steering wheel and bench seating seen in conventional car designs.
The vehicle also features a 133 kWh battery, one of the largest available in electric vehicles today. It allows the Zoox to operate for up to 16 continuous hours on a single charge.
“Revealing our functioning and driving vehicle is an exciting milestone in our company’s history and marks an important step on our journey towards deploying an autonomous ride-hailing service,” said Aicha Evans, Zoox Chief Executive Officer.
“We are transforming the rider experience to provide superior mobility-as-a-service for cities. And as we see the alarming statistics around carbon emissions and traffic accidents, it’s more important than ever that we build a sustainable, safe solution that allows riders to get from point A to point B.”
Safety is a top concern – both inside and outside the cab
The vehicle design has more than 100 safety innovations not featured in conventional cars. These include a unique airbag system for bidirectional vehicles and carriage seating that envelops passengers. The system delivers what is equal to five-star crash safety protections for all four seats, claims Zoox.
The vehicles utilize a unique sensor architecture of cameras, radar, and LIDAR, accorsing to the company. This allows Zoox to obtain a 270-degree field of view on all four corners of the vehicle. This eliminates typical blind spots and allows the vehicle to “consistently track objects next to and behind it.”
Such objects, according to the company, include pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users.