Zoox discovers a self-driving car: Amazon's first taxi robot

Zoox, a self-driving automotive company that Amazon bought in June, has finally unveiled its robo-taxi after six years of prototyping.
And while broadly resembling other first-generation autonomous vehicles from vehicle manufacturers and Silicon Valley novices, the Zoox robot has some outstanding features as well as a general gloss that makes it clear why Amazon thinks it can be the foundation of a new autonomous journey, writes The Verge.

The "wheelchair-style" autonomous vehicle is a four-wheeled electric vehicle that can seat up to four people, and is similar in appearance to fully self-driving vehicles created by other companies.

To further differentiate, Zoox has spent the last few years working on equipping its autonomous vehicle with the ability to drive both front and rear. Combined with four-wheel drive functionality, the Zoox says its vehicle will be able to make precise maneuvers and make "tricky turns". Zoox also claims that its vehicle is the first of its kind that can travel at speeds of up to 120 km per hour, a potential ambition to one day place vehicles on the highway.

Like most early autonomous vehicles, the Zoox robot is decorated in safety technology. There is a set of security sensors and multiple radar cameras. Zoox says this provides a field of view of 270 degrees in every corner. The sensor suite allows the vehicle to see objects up to 150 feet away, Zoox says.

A small touch screen in each location is the most visible technology found inside; Zoox says travelers will use these to check music, air conditioning or see their way.

The robotics is powered by a 133kWh battery pack, which is slightly larger than the packages currently supplied by Tesla's most capable vehicles. Zoox says these battery packs will last for 16 hours of continuous use.
The company has tested prototypes of its self-driving vehicle in San Francisco and Foster City in California, as well as in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Of course, Zoox is just part of Amazon's increasingly massive push in the transportation sector. Not only has the e-commerce giant essentially built its own transport infrastructure, but it has poured a ton of money into the tumultuous start of the Rivian EV (and is working with the company on an electric van fleet). He also has a stake in Aurora, the autonomous vehicle fleet that just won Uber’s self-driving division.