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amazon's autonomous robotaxi 'zoox' legally drives on open roads for the first time

Autonomous robotaxi ‘zoox’ in california


Amazon-owned mobility company Zoox celebrates the milestone of its driverless robotaxi as it drove passengers around the open roads of California for the first time on February 11th, 2023. Zoox held the first run of its all-electric robotic taxi as it transported employees as a shuttle service in Foster City without traditional driving controls.


From the test video, Zoox could detect road traffic and hurdles and could easily navigate from lane to lane. As Zoox states, its driverless shuttle vehicle is the only purpose-built robotaxi permitted on California public roads to date.  Zoox will implement its employee shuttle service in Foster City, California, following the conclusion of its historic first run (the employee shuttle service will be available only to full-time Zoox workers at the moment).


The autonomous robot taxi can carry up to four people at a time on a public route between Zoox’s two main office buildings, go at up to 75 mph – but it went for 35 mph during the test route due to the speed limit – and navigate left and right turns, bi-directional turns, traffic signals, bicycles, pedestrians, automobiles, and other road agents.

autonomous robotaxi zoox
images courtesy of Zoox Inc.



‘Built for riders, not drivers’


The catchphrase Zoox came up with – ‘built for riders, no drivers’ – testify to the all-electric and autonomous capabilities of the vehicle. The spacious four-seater robotaxi gifts each passenger the same comfort, space, and technology in their cushioned seating so no one has to squeeze in behind a driver (also, there’s no space for a driver of any kind).


Smartphone-manic passengers need not to worry if they’re losing battery charge since the seats are equipped with wireless charging and coffee cup holders. Above the passengers, the sunroof – and at night, moon – lets the natural light in and offers riders a view of the sky as the robotaxi drives itself to their destination. The compact Zoox has no hard time maneuvering tight curbside pickups and tricky U-turns with its four-wheel steering.

autonomous robotaxi zoox
autonomous robotaxi Zoox driving around california



The vehicle design of Zoox has no front or back, so it can go either way as needed, making pickups and drop-offs seamless. Zoox flashes its own signal light to inform drivers of nearby cars that it is stopping or breaking. The vehicle can also send sound signals to identify itself for a pickup or detect whether or not it will bump into a wall as it parks. 


The in-house-built software and hardware of Zoox help the vehicle with its autonomous properties. The robotaxi uses sensor architecture with cameras, lidars, and radars to check its surroundings, and the design team places the sensors in a way that they will overlap so that the vehicle gets 360-degree detection coverage.


The system also allows for redundancy and a high-tech style to perceive all directions equally well. Zoox can also see up to 150 meters away from all directions and corners to alert itself what is coming near it before it closes in.

autonomous robotaxi zoox
the autonomous robotaxi can sit up to four people


autonomous robotaxi Zoox

autonomous robotaxi zoox
the vehicle is slated to transport Zoox’s employees to further tests it open-road capabilities

autonomous robotaxi zoox
the spacious cabin is equipped with wireless charging

autonomous robotaxi zoox
sun/moon roof


autonomous robotaxi Zoox


project info:


name: Zoox

company: Zoox, Amazon

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