The First Fully Autonomous Taxi?
Zoox has raised over $800 million from investors to develop a fully autonomous ride-hailing service. The mobility-as-a-service company intends to launch commercially by the end of 2020.
Zoox is the first company to receive approval from California regulators to test their service with public customers. The company is testing its zero-emission vehicles in San Francisco, a city notorious for its complex environment.
Zoox’s fleet of battery-powered electric vehicles uses artificial intelligence to interpret and react to fraught driving conditions. All four wheels of the car can turn, which increases the vehicle’s ability to change direction or navigate congested road conditions quickly.
Each vehicle is equipped with cameras and sensors that measure the distance of target objects like people, cars, or a construction site. These cameras and sensors provide Zoox’s AI software with a 360-degree map of the environment around the vehicle. Zoox’s software continuously analyzes these maps to instruct the car on how to avoid random events.
The company has reported achievements in the race for entirely autonomous vehicles that no other company has shown. For example, Zoox’s cars will know to turn right on red or to pass double-parked vehicles. Zoox’s fleet of cars will operate safer without humans.
Human error is responsible for about 94 percent of accidents; Zoox’s cars will eliminate the most impactful variable in this equation: humans. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, Zoox’s cars will reduce accidents and overall road congestion.
Written by Devaansh Mahtani, Edited by James Mueller & Alexander Fleiss