Zoox Robotaxi - Look No Steering Wheel...
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 19 February 2023

Last weekend the fully autonomous Zoox robotaxi made its first run on open public roads - a major milestone in the company's plans for a ride-hailing service designed for riders rather than drivers. While a time-consuming process, the level of testing to ensure passenger safety is impressive. 

It has been a while since we reported on progress towards what some regard as utopia and others as taking artificial intelligence a step too far - self-driving vehicles that eliminate the need for any human intervention. Progress is, however, being made. 

Zoox, founded in 2014 and acquired by Amazon in 2020 with headquarters in Foster City, California, is the latest to be issued with a driverless testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles allowing it to test its robotaxi on public roads.

zoox sq

The permit covers testing both with empty vehicles and with Zoox employees aboard and starting this spring, full-time employees will be able to ride in the robotaxi between te companies Foster City offices during business hours.

For the maiden voyage around Zoox co-founders Jesse Levinson and CEO Aicha Evans were abord along with other staff members and this ride was the very first time that a purpose-built robotaxi, with no manual controls, drove autonomously on open public roads with passengers. 

Progress towards self-driving vehicles may seem slow but Zoox isn't taking chances or cutting corners and its robotaxi has gone through extensive testing at every stage of its development. 

As the video explains, simulation is used by Zoox to test and validate its  AI very early in the development process. Later on structured tests allow are employed to evaluate the performance of the AI and vehicle in a controlled, real-world environment. Together, they form an iterative loop, enabling Zoox to prepare its purpose-built vehicle for its first riders.

If this video motivates you to want to participate in the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) revolution that is now a step nearer to becoming a reality, consider Udacity's Self Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree as career-oriented and hands-on preparation for those with some knowledge of Python, C++, linear algebra and calculus.

More Information

 Zoox blog post

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Last Updated ( Monday, 20 February 2023 )