Amazon-owned autonomous vehicle startup Zoox has pulled the wraps off its self-driving robotaxi, which its maker says is “built for riders, not drivers.” The company was founded in 2014 by Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levinson, and it was acquired by Amazon earlier this year in an attempt to race to the front of the hotly-contested self-driving car business. The fully electric autonomous vehicle looks nothing like a conventional car; instead, it resembles a cable car carriage, only with four wheels. According to the company’s founders, their competitors have adopted the wrong approach by retrofitting futuristic technology into conventional cars. Zoox always wanted to design their self-driving car from the ground up.
The carriage-style with a boxy design has sliding doors on both sides. The cabin has bench seats that face each other and can accommodate fur passengers. The self-driving electric car doesn’t have any driving controls inside the cabin, and it is fully autonomous. It uses a total of six LIDAR pucks located up top, which along with multiple radar sensors and cameras, help in the self-driving function. According to Zoox, the sensor suite provides a 270-degree field of view at each corner that can see objects up to 150 meters away and doesn’t have blind spots around the vehicle. The robotaxi features a massive 133 kWh battery pack claimed to provide up to 16 hours of operation on a single charge. The unconventional vehicle also has some really cool tricks up its sleeves. It is designed to be bidirectional in operation, has four-wheel steering, which can help maneuver in very tough spaces and can hit a top speed of 75mph. Zoox is currently testing its robotaxis at different US locations and hasn’t yet revealed a launch date for it. However, the company has said the robotaxi will be built in the United States.