The era of self-driving cars has nearly arrived. Zoox, the autonomous driving startup company that was purchased by Amazon in 2020, recently unveiled photos of its first robotaxi, giving the world a peek at what ride-hailing may look like in the not-too-distant future.
Instead of modeling the design after a traditional car, like its Google-owned competitor Waymo did, the Zoox robotaxi has no front seat or back seat. Instead, as seen in the photo below, the four seats inside of the taxi face the center of the vehicle rather than facing front like traditional cars. So, although you won’t have to make small talk with a taxi driver, you may feel inclined to chat with your fellow passengers while inside the Zoox.
In addition, the battery-powered vehicle is compact in size, measuring a little less than 12 feet long. The Zoox robotaxi is also designed to be bidirectional, meaning that it can drive in either direction without needing to reverse, thanks to motors on each end of the car.
Ideal for congested city driving, the robotaxi can reach speeds as fast as 75 miles per hour and can operate for up to 16 hours at a time before needing to be recharged.
Meanwhile, the exterior of the robotaxi, as seen in the press image below, sports a teal color and sliding glass doors. Overall, the car comes across as a smaller and more cheerful-looking version of the futuristic self-driving rideshare vehicle featured in season three of “Westworld” (which was reportedly based on GM’s Cruise Origin self-driving car concept).
Zoox is testing its robotaxi in Las Vegas and California’s Bay Area. However, unlike Waymo’s self-driving taxi that is available for rides in the Phoenix area, it’s unclear when Zoox will allow the public to hail a ride in its robotaxi.