Amazon has said that its self-driving vehicle unit, Zoox, successfully carried passengers on a public road in its fully autonomous vehicle on public roads for the first time.
On February 14, the electric vehicle, which does not have a steering wheel, ran a mile-long route carrying employees between Zoox’s two main buildings in Foster City, California. The company said that its employees are test-riding the taxi on California public roads. It now plans to operate a shuttle for employees on the same trip, while it seeks additional clearances to expand its service to the public.
Amazon said that the robotaxi trip marks the first time that a vehicle designed without human controls has carried passengers on a public road. Zoox’s driverless testing permit, which Amazon has held since September 2020, was extended by California to include the purpose-built robotaxi. To date, its public-road testing has been limited to a fleet of retrofitted gas-powered cars that carry sensors powering the self-driving technology.
The robotaxi was built as a fully autonomous vehicle from scratch. The vehicle has room for four passengers, with two facing each other. Zoox is designed for city streets, but will not go fast, the company said.