FOSTER CITY, Calif. – Autonomous Mobility-as-a-Service company Zoox has announced a major milestone in the development of autonomous vehicles: the deployment of the world’s first purpose-built robotaxi on public roads with passengers.
On February 11, 2023, Zoox conducted its first run of its employee shuttle service in Foster City, California. This marks the first time in history that a purpose-built autonomous robotaxi without traditional driving controls has carried passengers on public roads.
To reach this milestone, Zoox underwent rigorous testing on private roads and received approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to operate its robotaxi on the state’s public roads. Zoox is the only purpose-built robotaxi permitted on California public roads that is self-certified to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The company’s design, which does not include traditional driving controls, incorporated FMVSS performance requirements directly into the vehicle and added over 100 safety innovations not found in today’s passenger cars.
“Becoming the first company to operate a purpose-built robotaxi with passengers on public roads in California is a significant milestone for not only Zoox, but for the entire autonomous vehicle industry,” said Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox. “With the announcement of the first run of our autonomous employee shuttle, we are taking a major step towards a commercialized purpose-built robotaxi service for the general public.”
Following the completion of its historic first run, Zoox will deploy its employee shuttle service exclusively for full-time employees at its headquarters in Foster City. The robotaxi is capable of transporting up to four people at a time, traveling up to 35 mph, and handling various road conditions, including traffic lights, cyclists, pedestrians, and other road agents.
“The founding premise of Zoox was to reimagine the full mobility experience in order to advance transportation and increase safety on our roads,” said Jesse Levinson, Co-Founder and CTO of Zoox. “It is a testament to our design and engineering that we are able to drive our purpose-built vehicle fully autonomously and without safety drivers. With the deployment of our employee shuttle service, we will continue to refine and improve our technology as we prepare for our commercial launch.”
In accordance with the California DMV permit, Zoox will first offer its service to employees. As the company continues to progress and secure additional government clearances, it plans to expand its service to the general public.