Autonomous Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) company, Zoox, has carried its first passengers in a purpose-built robotaxi on public roads in Foster City, California.

This is the first time that a purpose-built autonomous robotaxi without traditional driving controls has carried passengers on open public roads.

Zoox’s autonomous robotaxi

Prior to this step, Zoox completed comprehensive testing on private roads and received approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to operate on the state’s public roads.

Unlike other autonomous services operating in California, such as those provided by Cruise, Zoox’s vehicle does not include traditional driving controls such as a steering wheel or pedals.

Jesse Levinson, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Zoox said:

The founding premise of Zoox was that the best way to advance transportation and increase safety on our roadways was to reimagine the full mobility experience. That means going beyond retrofitting today’s passenger vehicles with autonomous technology. It is a feat of design and engineering – and the culmination of years of hard work – to drive a purpose-built vehicle, fully autonomously and without safety drivers.

The robotaxi will initially provide an employee shuttle service at Zoox’s headquarters in Foster City, California. This will be offered exclusively to Zoox full-time employees.

Zoox’s shuttle operating on public roads

The vehicle will transport up to four people at a time on a specific public route between Zoox’s two main office buildings, traveling up to 35 miles per hour.

During this route, it will navigate left and right-hand turns, bi-directional turns, traffic lights, cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles.

Aicha Evans, Chief Executive Officer at Zoox said:

Becoming the first company to operate a purpose-built robotaxi with passengers on open public roads in California is a significant milestone in not only Zoox’s journey, but for the autonomous vehicle industry at large. Today, with the announcement of the maiden run of our autonomous employee shuttle, we are adding to the progress this industry has seen over the last year and bringing Zoox one step closer to a commercialised purpose-built robotaxi service for the general public.

As the company continues to progress, Zoox also plans expand its service to the general public.


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