Amazon tests Robotaxi on public road

SAN FRANCISCO: Inc’s (AMZN.O) self-driving vehicle unit, Zoox, said on Monday it has successfully tested a robotaxi with employees as passengers on a public road in a move to bring it closer to commercial service for the general public.
The Feb. 11 test, conducted between two Zoox buildings a mile apart at its headquarters in Foster City, California, was part of the launch of a no-cost employee shuttle service that will also help the company refine its technology.
“Putting the vehicle on (an) open public road and validating our approach to all of the different requirements, including regulatory, is a big step and we would not have done it unless internally we were already looking at the line of sight for going commercial,” Chief Executive Aicha Evans told reporters on a conference call.
Evans declined to provide a timeline for the commercial launch, which will need additional government clearances.
The industry’s automated vehicle segment has not rolled out as fast as originally expected as the technology has proven tough to master. Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) last fall announced they would shutter their Argo AI self-driving unit and focus on driver-assistance technology that provided more immediate returns. –Agencies