The team at Amazon-owned Zoox has released an in-depth safety report detailing the safety features engineers have built into the company's autonomous vehicle, a robo-taxi, and have published it online.
Zoox was founded in 2014 in San Francisco with the objective of building an extremely safe autonomous vehicle—Amazon bought the company last year. The company has thus far developed just one design, a vehicle called simply Zoox. Notably, the vehicle is not an adjustment to an existing vehicle made by a regular car company. The team at Zoox has engineered the vehicle from the ground up with the goal of creating a completely autonomous and safe vehicle capable of carrying passengers to desired locations via public roads. The team at Zoox has now released a detailed safety report that describes the features they have built into the vehicle.
At first glance, the most obvious unique feature of the car is the absence of a steering wheel and dash. Instead, it is a simple box frame that holds two bench seats that face each other. Another unique feature is the wheels, which work independently of one another, and all four can turn, giving the vehicle a very high degree of maneuverability. That maneuverability is necessary considering the vehicle has no front or back—it can drive in either direction. In their safety report, team members note that the vehicle never has to back up to turn around. It can pull into a parking space and then drive out, reducing the risk of an accident.
At Zoox, we intend to set the bar for safety in autonomous mobility. Our purpose-built autonomous vehicle includes more than 100 safety innovations that do not exist in today's conventional cars. Learn more in our 2021 Safety Report: https://t.co/84vyOmG8Zv pic.twitter.com/VSm2QjcZia— Zoox (@zoox) June 22, 2021
The vehicle has many other safety features, as well. First and foremost is the autonomous driving system, which has been road tested under real-world conditions in San Francisco. The vehicle is loaded with systems such as lidar and radar and other sensors that keep the central computer updated on where the vehicle is, where it is going, and traffic around it. It also has a computer system for shorter stopping distances. The engineers have also built multiple redundancies into the vehicle, from the dual battery system to backup steering controls. The vehicle also has multiple airbags that, when deployed, completely surround all four passengers, and seat belts that must be used correctly or the vehicle will not move.
One thing not mentioned in the report is when the company plans to start putting its vehicles into service transporting people.
More information: Zoox safety reports: zoox.com/safety/
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