Amazon set to test its self-driving robotaxi in California

Zoox, an Amazon subsidiary specializing in autonomous vehicles, is preparing to launch its autonomous robotaxis, with full-scale tests in California.

Launched in 2014 and acquired by Amazon in 2020, Zoox specializes in autonomous vehicles: its VH6 is an autonomous robotaxi, which is produced in Fremont, California. According to Zoox, this factory has already produced several dozen copies of the model, and has a production capacity of several tens of thousands of vehicles.

The American start-up has just announced that it is preparing to launch its autonomous shuttle serviceand that his vehicle complied with US federal regulations (FMVSS: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards).

Amazon Zoox: trials in California

Before commissioning its activity, Zoox is awaiting the issuance of an authorization from the State of California, in order totry your robotaxi under real traffic conditions.

The start-up has also declared that it is not affected by the current context of shortage of materials and electronic components, and is in the midst of a recruitment campaign: in fact, the workforce should reach 2,000 employees this year, against 1,400 last year. .

Amazon Zoox: an ultralight robotaxi

the Zoox VH6 is an electric and autonomous vehicle, which does not have a driving position: it is actually a shuttle that can accommodate four passengers in its passenger compartment, which face each other in two comfortable bench seats. For each occupant, 7-inch screens are on board, as well as USB-C sockets and induction chargers for smartphones.

Quite surprisingly, the model uses ultralight materials, such as carbon fiber, which is usually found in the most sporty models. What improve the weight, but also the protection of the occupants in the event of collision.

Amazon Zoox: an autonomous shuttle

The Zoox VH6 is additionally equipped with many sensorswhich allow it to view its entire environment: there are cameras, radars and LiDARs at each of its angles, which work in concert with high-definition mapping.

At the front and rear of the vehicle, above the axles, are the battery packs, the engine and all the on-board electronics of the VH6: a modular construction that facilitates maintenance, when it is will be necessary to repair or maintain the model.

With in total 133 kWh of battery capacity, the VH6 can remain in service for approximately 16 hours. To recharge it, it carries a 100 kW fast charger, operating with 400 volt technology: enough to considerably reduce downtime during recharging.

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