It’s been almost six months since Amazon purchased self-driving startup Zoox, and today the company pulled the wraps off its first autonomous vehicle. Rather than automating a standard car built with a human driver in mind, the Zoox robotaxi is built specifically for autonomous driving in in dense urban environments.
For example, its only 3.63 meters long, which gives the robotaxi one of the smallest footprints in the auto industry. It is also built with four-wheel steerings and bi-directional driving — there’s no “front” to speak of. There’s also no steering wheel or the standard bench seating; instead, four passengers face each other inside the compact vehicle, which looks more like a single carriage on a tram rather than a car in the conventional sense. Despite its compact size, Zoox’s robotaxi can reach speeds up to 75 MPH. It’s powered by two individual battery packs that provide about 16 hours of run time before they need to recharge, so a single robotaxi should be able to do a day’s worth of work before it needs a power-up.