Zoox shows its rider-centric autonomous car

The first real robotaxi in the world is unveiled by the San Francisco startup

When you think about autonomous cars, the first names that come to mind are probably Tesla and Waymo. But it was Zoox, a San Francisco startup that was acquired by Amazon in July, that unveiled a very cool and modern vision of what transportation might look like in this decade.

The Zoox robotaxi is designed for riders and maximized for comfort, user-friendliness, and the well being of passengers. The fully autonomous electric vehicle does not have pedals or a steering wheel and can carry up to 4 riders facing each other like an old school carriage.

The design is pretty cool, well thought and the robotaxi has some neat features such as wheels that can steer the car in any direction for extended maneuverability in crowded cities.

During the unveiling though, the company executives have not demonstrated the car functioning in real-world situations nor announced a date when you could actually summon a robotaxi in the streets of San Francisco or Las Vegas, Zoox's first test markets. This is puzzling because nothing else matters if the car can not drive itself extremely well and in a safe manner.

Meanwhile, Tesla is showing incredible progress towards full autonomy with their latest software release.

Why should you care?

Zoox's unveiling shows how the autonomous cars industry is approaching maturity and how the future of mobility will look like. Autonomy + electric cars + Uber's business model are irreversible and will change the world forever.

As a student, you should think about autonomous cars as a platform (like Android or iOS) that will open many opportunities for engineering, entertainment, and other correlated areas. What technical problems will need to be solved? What people will do in their newly found free time? What else can be done so riders have a better experience?

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