Zoox, Amazon’s robotaxi unit, set to begin testing in Austin and Miami

Amazon.com’s robotaxi unit Zoox has announced plans to start testing its autonomous vehicles in Austin, Texas, and Miami, marking its first trial sites outside the western United States. The company will deploy its test fleet of retrofitted Toyota Highlanders with human safety drivers in small areas near the business and entertainment districts of the two cities. Zoox has been testing its self-designed autonomous vehicles in California and Nevada, which are built without steering wheels and pedals and can accommodate four passengers.

## Expansion into Austin and Miami

Zoox’s decision to expand its testing locations to Austin and Miami comes amid an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into 500 Zoox vehicles equipped with automated driving systems after two crashes. This move will make Austin and Miami the fourth and fifth public testing locations for Zoox, adding to its existing operations in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Seattle.

## Future Plans for Public Rides

While Zoox will not be offering public rides in Austin and Miami immediately, the company has stated that it is exploring several cities for potential commercial offerings after its initial launch in Las Vegas and San Francisco. This expansion highlights Zoox’s commitment to enhancing its autonomous driving technology and bringing its services to more locations across the United States.

## Challenges and Investigations

Zoox is not the only self-driving robotaxi company facing investigations by the NHTSA. Companies like General Motors’ Cruise and Alphabet’s Waymo have also been embroiled in investigations concerning the performance of autonomous driving cars. Cruise recently resumed operations in Dallas, Texas, with a small fleet of human drivers after pausing operations following an incident in San Francisco involving one of its robotaxis in October last year.

## Industry Outlook

As the autonomous driving industry continues to grow and evolve, companies like Zoox are at the forefront of developing innovative technologies that have the potential to revolutionize transportation. By expanding its testing locations to Austin and Miami, Zoox is demonstrating its commitment to advancing its autonomous driving capabilities and paving the way for a future where self-driving vehicles are a common sight on the roads.

In conclusion, Zoox’s decision to test its autonomous vehicles in Austin and Miami represents a significant milestone for the company as it expands its reach beyond the western United States. With plans for commercial offerings in the near future and a commitment to enhancing its technology, Zoox is poised to play a key role in shaping the future of autonomous driving.

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