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Amazon Debuts to Trial Test Zoox in Austin and Miami

On Wednesday, Amazon announced its plans to start trial testing its autonomous vehicles (AVs) unit Zoox in Austin, Texas, and Miami.

According to reports, Zoox will conduct its trial tests using modified Toyota Highlanders, each equipped with a human safety driver, in selected small areas near the two cities’ bustling business and entertainment hubs.

Amazon’s robotaxi has been piloting its self-designed autonomous cars in California and Nevada. The vehicles can accommodate four passengers and are built without steering wheels and pedals.

The announcement came amid a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) probe into 500 Zoox after two reported accidents with automobiles equipped with automated driving features.

Along with Amazon’s autonomous vehicles, self-driving car firms such as General Motors’ Cruise and Alphabet’s Waymo have also been involved with NHTSA’s scrutiny of their robocars.

Meanwhile, Austin and Miami will be the fourth and fifth public testing locales for the AV, which has already conducted operations in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Seattle.

Zoox stated it will not offer public rides in the two cities yet. However, following its initial launch in its LA and San Francisco target markets, it is exploring numerous locales for commercial offerings.

On Monday, Cruise stated that it had resumed operating in Dallas, Texas, with a small fleet of drivers after it had delayed services due to an incident in San Francisco involving one of its robotaxis last October 2023.

Zoox Launch to Train Amazon-Back AVs’ Software

The Amazon-backed AVs Zoox said in a report that each city presented a valuable outlook for training.

For instance, Austin’s horizontal traffic lights, railway crossings, and well-known thunderstorms can provide distinct data to train the software.

Moreover, Miami has different challenges and landscapes, with Zoox pointing stoplights that hang diagonally across intersections.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s automobile started its first trial testing in 2018 to catch up with its competitors, which are already operating in those cities.

 

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