American vehicle company Zoox recently presented its energy-renewable, self-driving robotaxi. While an official launch for consumers is still a thing of the future, the company, which was acquired by Amazon earlier this year, is aiming to eventually “launch a ride-sharing app in a few major cities.” Testing is currently underway in Las Vegas, San Fransisco, and Foster City, California. A few details about the vehicles: as mentioned, they are driverless and battery-powered, requiring a charge every 16 hours. They can hold up to four passengers in carriage-style seating and “travel in either direction, with motors at each end.” Their speed capacity caps out at 75 miles per hour.
“While our vehicle is not ready for commercial use yet, this marks a key milestone towards our vision of building an autonomous robotaxi fleet and ride-hailing service.”Zoox Statement to CNBC News
“Zoox is one of several companies racing to put fully autonomous vehicles on the road, an effort that’s taking longer than anticipated,” wrote Bloomberg’s Edward Ludlow. While many have compared the vehicle to the likes of Google’s Waymo or General Motor’s Cruise, it was pointed out that the Zoox vehicle has the unique feature of bidirectional, four-way steering. This means it can “change directions without the need to reverse and navigate in compact spaces.” Sasha Lekach, a transportation and technology writer at Mashable, noted, “Instead of ‘Ubering’ somewhere, Zoox wants to become the verb that means to get around, no driver necessary.” One Tweet read, “Speaking of Amazon… HTF does one pronounce Zoox, the autonomous robo-taxi they acquired? Is the X the Mayan ‘-sh’ sound, for ‘Zoo-sh’? Or is it -ks for ‘Zooks’? It better not be -ex like ‘Zoo-ex’. I’m going with Zoosh.”