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Zoox’s purpose-built robotaxis with no steering wheel or pedals are driving on public roads in Las Vegas, making it the second city the company has deployed its robotaxis. The vehicles took to Las Vegas roads for the first time on June 16, 2023.
Initially, the robotaxis will be driving on a one-mile loop around the neighborhood where Zoox’s Las Vegas HQ is located, but the company hopes to expand its range in the coming months. The autonomous vehicles (AVs) can transport up to four people at a time and reach speeds up to 35 mph (56 kph) on this route.
The rectangular vehicle has four-wheel steering, allowing it to perform precise maneuvers. Because it doesn’t have a driver’s seat, the small vehicle is bidirectional, meaning it can move forward and backward with ease.
While the current route is limited, it still has plenty of obstacles for the Zoox robotaxi to learn from, including several unprotected turns and multi-way stops. The rides are only open to Zoox employees while the team gathers information to better prepare the vehicle for public rides.
“Deploying our robotaxi on open public roads in California and now Nevada is a big step for Zoox. Driving autonomously in these two unique but equally challenging locations will provide us with invaluable learnings as we fine-tune our technology in preparation for commercial launch,” Jesse Levinson, co-founder and CTO of Zoox, said.
Zoox has been working in Las Vegas since 2019 when its test fleet of Toyota Highlanders first arrived on roads in the city. The company has spent a year mapping the area and gathering data on its unique driving conditions.
The company’s robotaxis first hit public roads in February in Foster City, CA. Zoox began similarly there, with the robotaxis traveling along a mile-long ride between the company’s two main buildings.
Zoox has spent months perfecting its autonomous driving software using its recently upgraded testing fleet. With such a uniquely designed vehicle, that can never be operated with a safety driver behind the wheel, Zoox’s testing fleet had to be precisely designed so that the autonomous driving knowledge it gains can be translated onto its public-facing vehicles.