Zoox Reaches Important Milestone

Zoox, a San Francisco Bay Area-based startup that is developing self-driving technology as well as its own vehicle and was purchased by Amazon two years ago for about $1 billion, has reached a major milestone, according to co-founder and Zoox CTO Jesse Levinson.

At Amazon’s re:MARS event, Levinson said the vehicle has been driven “with no one inside, no chase vehicle, and no emergency stop, all on open, private roads with non-Zoox agents, including pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trucks,” opening the way to the next phase of development and testing. Safety requirements have been met, he said, and the vehicle can now operate in an unstructured environment at a safety level above that of humans.

The next steps are now to test the vehicle, which has been redesigned from the ground up to seat four people, has no driver’s seat, and can drive in both directions, on public roads. This is to begin next year in San Francisco, where adapted test vehicles are already on the road.

Starting from these vehicle tests, a successively larger fleet will then be on the road with passengers, which will then be transferred to a robotaxi service. The Zoox vehicle is also the first vehicle specifically designed for an autonomous robotaxi service. All the others, such as Waymo, Cruise or Argo, which are already operating the first robotaxi fleets in the USA, or Baidu, AutoX and Pony.ai, which are offering the same in China, are still regular cars with a steering wheel and driver’s seat, but currently without a driver.

GM’s Cruise subsidiary also has a similar car to Zoox in the works, the Cruise Origin, but Zoox seems to have the edge here.

this article was also posted in German.

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