Amazon could become the fourth major player to have a self-driving robotaxi service after Waymo, Cruise and AutoX. Amazon's Zoox comes out of stealth after releasing prototypes six years ago. The most striking thing about Zoox is that its car has a level of fit and finish which goes beyond what Waymo or Cruise have unveiled. And presumably, this will be the basis of a ride-hailing service that Amazon will launch to take on the likes of Uber, Waymo and Cruise.
The vehicle is quite different as it has a carriage style four-wheel all-electric powertrain which can seta up for people. It is just 3.63 meters long which makes it smaller than the Origin robotaxi by Cruise.
Zoox is different because it can drive both forward and backwards and side to side -- in other words, it has bi-directional capabilities. This allows the car to handle tight curbside pickups" and tricky U-turns, something which AutoX has also shown off. It is also the fastest autonomous vehicle of its kind as it travels at 120 kilometres per hour -- a Waymo robotaxi can only do 72 kilometres per hour.
As far as the autonomous tech goes, this vehicle marries 6 LiDAR arrays as well as multiple radar sensors and cameras providing a 270-degree field of view, with the vehicle having no blindspots. It even has sensors for redundancies and can see objects up to 150 metres away.
The interior is also unique. It gets really comfortable bench seats which face inward with the passengers surrounded in textured fabric. It also features a radical new system for airbags alongside cupholders and wireless charging mats. The ceiling draws inspiration from the Rolls-Royce Ghost with its starry sky pattern and each seat even gets a touchscreen for the controlling music, AC and their route plus ETA.
It is also an EV which is powered by a 133 kWh battery and can have up to 16 hours of continuous use. This is in the league of Tesla battery packs which is very impressive.
Amazon is the secretive player in the self-driving space. It has used for robotaxis and self-driving vehicles for the sake for its infrastructure and logistics business. But then it also holds a massive investment in Rivian and Aurora who just bought Uber's ATG unit.
The big news here is that Zoox is out of stealth and it has a very very impressive self-driving vehicle which seems more fleshed out than even Waymo.