Core77 Design Awards
- Other Years
Zoox was founded on two insights: the model of individually-owned, human-driven vehicles is broken; and technology provides the opportunity to improve safety, mobility, and sustainability outcomes of transportation in dense urban environments.
We only use our cars about 4% of the time, leaving them sitting idle and depreciating 96% of the time.
Approximately one-third of all traffic in cities is caused by people searching for parking.
One-fourth of the air pollution in the U.S. is caused by transportation.
Globally, we spend 400 billion hours driving each year.
Car crashes take the lives of 1.4 million people globally each year. That's over 3,000 people every single day.
More than 90% of crashes are caused by human error.
Zoox is the first to showcase a level-5 capable fully autonomous vehicle capable of traveling up to 75 miles per hour. By fundamentally rethinking the rider experience, Zoox is paving the way for safe, autonomous transportation that makes getting from place to place more efficient and economical. Zoox's vision for mobility goes beyond just the vehicle itself to include a comprehensive and cohesive autonomous mobility platform, including charging and maintenance infrastructure and fleet management tools, in addition to vehicle software and hardware. This full stack approach enables a more comprehensive, rider-focused deployment of Zoox vision for urban mobility.
Building from the ground up gives us an unmatched level of control over the design process. Design always includes some element of compromise, but other companies don't get to choose where to make those compromises. We do. And with our in-house design and self-driving teams working in tandem, we have the unique ability to deliver a vehicle and rider experience that are true to our vision of safety, sustainability, and elegance. We want the riders' initial experience to be everything they hoped riding in a self-driving vehicle would be. Providing them with a delightful, tailored, and intuitive experience in a beautiful, comfortable, and timeless environment is something only Zoox's holistic, collaborative approach to design can do.
While we've seen some of our competitors acknowledge that purpose-built hardware may be the optimal solution, most players in the space are still focused on retrofitting conventional vehicles with sensors and other advanced hardware. Zoox has been working on its purpose-built vehicle since 2014 and we are excited to show the world what we've been working on.
Why are we engineering our own vehicle? There's a number of reasons:
Creating self-driving vehicles is a difficult AI challenge. Zoox is accelerating full autonomy's path to market by (i) designing the vehicle's form factor around optimal sensor placement, and (ii) embedding fail operational safety systems into the vehicle's architecture at the outset.
Zoox can iterate rapidly and ensure success by controlling SW/HW integration. Our competitors are dependent on traditional automakers in a 100-year-old-industry.
The harmonization of complex SW and HW will enable a more seamless user experience with higher degrees of personalization and unique features that do not exist today.
Autonomous mobility for urban environments requires a bespoke vehicle that combines passenger comfort, maneuverability, and high uptime. Our vehicle optimizes passenger comfort with ample legroom, headroom, and hip room. Its active suspension provides dynamic damping to smooth out bumps on the road. Its overall length is 300 mm shorter than the BMW i3, which when coupled with our four-wheel steering capabilities, allows us to fit in tight curb spaces for drop-offs and pickups. This small footprint and bidirectional steering grants our vehicle unique agility and freedom of movement in dense urban environments. With a 133 kWh battery, the vehicle can operate for more than sixteen hours on a single charge, and our modular design means we can swap an entire unit in just 30 minutes, so the vehicle can get back on the road with fresh parts while our service team conducts maintenance and repairs.
Aesthetically, our vehicle is a "modern carriage" where the interior is dedicated to rider experience and the exterior is focused on self-driving technology. The interior features a communal, face-to-face seating configuration that's equal and symmetrical on both sides, so every rider enjoys an equally spacious and social experience.
This symmetrical design is also reflected in the exterior. We've placed self-driving sensors on the outside four corners of the roof, giving our self-driving technology an unrestricted view of the vehicle's surroundings. This creates what we call a "quadrant design," where each corner of the vehicle's exterior and interior is exactly the same, and the vehicle's appearance is mirrored front to back. Together, these design and technical achievements result in a vehicle that's uniquely suited to our mission to bring autonomous ride-hailing vehicles to dense urban environments.
Four-wheel steering means the vehicle can pull into tight curb spaces without parallel parking. This gives Zoox an advantage at pickup and drop-off because we can quickly get to the curb and out of the flow of traffic, providing a better and safer experience for our riders and other road users.
The vehicle is bidirectional, so there is no fixed front or back end. It can pull forward into a driveway and forward out onto the road without reversing. In the case of an unexpected road closure, the vehicle can simply flip directions or use four-wheel steering to turn around. No reversing required.
Instead of swinging open, both sets of doors slide open to take up less space and avoid striking nearby objects or entering the path of a bicyclist.
Carriage seating, which consists of two rows of seats that face each other, provides a unique experience that facilitates socializing. Each seat has the same amount of space and delivers the same experience—there's no bad seat in the house. Carriage seating also makes room for a wider aisle, allowing passengers to pass by each other without getting up or contorting into awkward positions. All together, these design details give our riders a freedom they can't experience anywhere else, backed by our safety innovations not featured in conventional cars.
Teaching a car to drive is an incredible artificial intelligence challenge. Predictive intelligence, neural networks, deep learning, vast computational power and more must converge to automate a process that resembles a human driver. But there's more that meets the eye for autonomous driving. In numerous instances, research has found that humans make split-second driving decisions based on detailed analyses of their scenarios and predictions of other human behaviors.
But despite the computational challenge of automating millions of split-seconds, autonomous vehicle company Zoox believes that while artificial intelligence plays a large role in the capabilities, it is not the only contributing factor. In fact, Zoox's would argue that its hardware design is equally as important to support the company's vision to create a self-driving robotaxi.
We are applying the latest techniques in the automotive and robotics industries to build a symmetrical, bidirectional, battery-electric vehicle that solves the unique challenges of autonomous mobility.
We are also developing the AI, vehicle, and service all together. Integrating the software, sensor, and vehicle subsystems is a complex challenge that requires tight, cross-functional collaboration. It would be difficult to create this level of system integration across multiple companies with divergent commercial interests.
At Zoox, we believe the AV industry may not be mature enough to enable modularization and plug and play systems from different vendors for at least another decade. Zoox engineers maximize productivity by developing these systems all together in-house.