The Zoox, an American startup owned by Amazon and specializes in autonomous driving, unveiled its first robocab, an electric vehicle without driver thought for the shared mobility in densely populated urban areas.
At ease in the city
The vehicle is reminiscent of the Origin, another driverless shuttle developed by the Cruise startup, controlled by General Motors. Like the latter, in fact, the Zoox robotaxi, whose name has not yet been made known, is not equipped with steering, pedals or any other type of command, but only with four seats arranged in two rows, facing one towards the other one.
Compared to the GM vehicle, however, that of the Amazon subsidiary is smaller: it is in fact only 3.63 meters long and this makes it particularly suitable for navigating city streets, also thanks to the four-wheel steering. Furthermore, the robotaxi does not have a defined front and rear, so it can reverse the direction of travel, without having to turn around. Despite its compact size, the shuttle can reach a maximum speed of around 120 km / h and is powered by two electric motors, one per axle, combined with two separate battery packs, positioned under the seats.
Inside, each passenger will find next to the seats a wireless charging station for smartphones and a screen to interact with to check the journey, the temperature, and the music. The internal brightness is guaranteed by the large glazed surfaces and the panoramic roof, surrounded by LED light points that simulate a starry sky. The Zoox robotaxi has several unique safety features, specifically designed to be compatible with its unconventional design, such as airbags capable of protecting occupants regardless of the direction the shuttle is moving.
Furthermore, on all four external corners, laser sensors, radar, Lidar, and cameras are installed: these devices provide a field of view of 270 degrees from all four ends of the robotaxi. going to eliminate blind spots. The Zoox can also manually operate fleet vehicles remotely and communicate with passengers in real-time. The company said it is already testing prototypes in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Foster City, California, with plans to launch a ride-sharing platform similar to Uber and Lyft. The startup, however, said that we will not see the service’s commercial launch before 2022.