Amazon's Zoox expands operations, driving conditions in Las Vegas

With area expansion, Zoox robotaxis would now operate within a radius of five miles of company’s headquarters
A representational image displaying Amazon Zoox robotaxi. — Amazon
A representational image displaying Amazon Zoox robotaxi. — Amazon

Amazon's driverless car company, Zoox, has expanded both the operational area for its robotaxis and the conditions in which the Zoox vehicles can drive.

The expansion is likely an effort to come at par with its archrival Waymo One — another autonomous ride-hailing service operating on a substantial ground in the US. 

New driving conditions for Zoox robotaxis

According to the Zoox March 14 update, the fleet of Zoox robotaxis would now cruise down the roads of Las Vegas faster, at night, in light rain after broadening the conditions in which it operates. 

Read more: Waymo One to launch in Austin, currently in testing

Zoox robotaxi area expansion

Meanwhile, with the area expanded, the autonomous cars of Zoox would now operate within a radius of five miles of the company’s headquarters, as it was operating within one-mile radius since June 2023.

“Deploying our robotaxi in a larger geofence is a big milestone for Zoox,” the company said in the update. “Operating autonomously at higher speeds, with required lane changes, in light rain, and at night are key achievements too — they’re complex scenarios that are required to operate our service,” the company said.

Initially started its operations on public roads last year, Zoox robotaxis' reach was limited in Foster City, California, and Las Vegas, as the company has been testing its service for a full-fledged commercial launch.

“Driving in these larger areas exposes our robotaxis to the busiest conditions they’ve ever encountered and provides invaluable data and learnings as we continue to scale,” Zoox said in the update.

Besides expanding the area and operational conditions, the speed limit of robotaxis has also been enhanced from 35 mph to 45 mph in both Las Vegas and Foster City.

This advancements has been ensured by training the machine learning (ML) models running the vehicle. These ML models utilised data from both the company’s test fleet and its robotaxis.

“As always, safety is foundational to Zoox, so we’ll continue to be measured and thoughtful in our approach to commercialization. These critical updates bring us closer to safely and confidently offering Zoox to the public.”

When did Amazon buy Zoox?

Acquired by Amazon in June 2020 for a reported $1.2 billion, Zoox revealed a fully-autonomous electric taxi which was claimed to as a cab service for densely populated urban settings.