Tuesday 15 December 2020 10:46 am

Amazon-owned Zoox reveals first autonomous 'robotaxi'

Autonomous vehicle firm Zoox last night unveiled its first fully functional, electric “robotaxi”.

Designed and built in the US, the taxi can reach speeds of 75 miles per hour and is designed for dense, urban environments.

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Instead of a conventional seating layout, the taxi has removed the steering wheel and instead put in four seats facing across from each other.

Aicha Evans, Zoox chief exec, said: “Revealing our functioning and driving vehicle is an exciting milestone in our company’s history and marks an important step on our journey towards deploying an autonomous ride-hailing service.”

In June this year, Amazon bought the California-based company amid rumours that the tech giant might incorporate self-driving technology into its logistics network.

The car has more than 100 safety innovations, including an airbag system which envelops passengers.

It also uses a combination of cameras, radar and LIDAR, giving it a 270-degree view on all four corners of the vehicle to eliminate blind spots.

The vehicle uses a 133kWh battery which allows it to operate for up to 16 continuous hours on a single charge.

Evans said: “As we see the alarming statistics around carbon emissions and traffic accidents, it’s more important than ever that we build a sustainable, safe solution.”

However, Zoox has declined to say when the robotaxi will hit the roads for the public to use.

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The news comes a week after Uber announced it is selling its autonomous vehicle business after a series of setbacks, including the first known fatality by an autonomous vehicle.

The ride-hailing app is shedding a number of its loss-making divisions in a drive to make a profit by the end of the year.