Amazon’s newly-acquired autonomous vehicle startup Zoox has revealed its first, fully functional, electric, autonomous vehicle, which appears to be almost ready for fleet operators. Dubbed “robotaxi”, the vehicle can travel in either direction and at speeds of up to 120 km/h (75 mph).
The design is cartoonishly simple and “cute”, as we can see, one that would perfectly fit in a 3D animated movie set. The vehicle is not only bidirectional capable but also offers four-wheel steering. Depending on the direction of travel, those running lights can change their color from white to red, and while turning, half of that square becomes a turn signal. A very clean design, indeed. Those four things you see at the top of each corner are essentially the sensors, which combine the cameras, radars and lidars to help the vehicle see its surroundings.
As with the exterior, the cabin design is clean and simple. There are face-to-face bench-like seats with a smartphone charging tray in the middle. There’s also a digital interface for each of the four passengers, to set the music or to check the arrival time, for example. Other than that, there are no controls whatsoever, obviously. The passengers will have an experience similar to sitting in a metro train, but with a lot more personalization.
As for the safety equipment, the vehicle features unique airbags as shown, which kinda hugs the passengers. Also, the vehicle communicates with its surroundings with sound and lighting animations.
Moving on to the technical bits, for those who’re interested to know, the L5-capable robotaxi has two electric motors, one at each axle. Those large rectangular boxes you see are actually the battery packs, upon which the seats are placed. The packs offer a total capacity of 133 kWh, which Zoox claims to be sufficient to last a whole day of driving. Charging happens wirelessly.
Zoox is still testing the vehicle in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Foster City.