Watch Zoox’s driverless robotaxi endure crash tests, thanks to unique safety designs [Video]

“We’ve built our robotaxi from the ground up. Now, to truly test it, we have to break it apart.” That’s the sentiment shared by robotaxi developer Zoox as it looks to finally launch its truly driverless EV to the public soon. In the final chapter of its “Putting Zoox to the Test” YouTube series, Zoox shared unique safety features that went into the robotaxi design and, of course, included plenty of footage of its EV getting smashed up. See more below.

Zoox is an autonomous vehicle specialist approaching nearly a decade of development in bringing its unique robotaxi technology to public roads. After being wholly acquired by Amazon for a whopping $1.2 billion, Zoox found the necessary funding to continue developing a completely bespoke EV for the robotaxi market, rather than try and retrofit existing vehicles like nearly all of its competitors.

In late 2020, we got our first look at the all-electric, autonomous shuttle with massive 133 kWh battery pack, plus the absence of pedals and a steering wheel. That fleet of level 3 autonomous vehicles has tallied over one million autonomous miles through San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Seattle – leading Zoox to become the first company to self-certify a purpose-built, fully autonomous passenger EV with the NHTSA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).

Long before we saw the unique robotaxi, Zoox had already performed thousands of simulated virtual crash tests – even before the company itself had built its prototype. In 2019, Zoox finished its first round of crash testing on the initial iteration of its minimalist robotaxi and used that data to improve its current version.

As Zoox continues public road testing with its employees in California, it is moving closer to commercialization and has the latest crash test performance data to foster optimism about its future success on roads.

Zoox’s unique robotaxi provides safety to all passengers

One look at the Zoox robotaxi, and it’s obvious that its design is like no other. By building its EV from the ground up, the team states it has been able to push design features beyond existing solutions, but simultaneously, its own conception has created unique safety concerns that had to be addressed.

Zoox was tasked with a unique challenge in passenger safety since previous features in traditional passenger vehicles have been geared toward the people in the front seat, where an airbag can be deployed from the dashboard. By removing the dash components altogether, Zoox had to find a new approach while still adhering to the same safety regulations as every other motor vehicle.

The solution is a unique horseshoe-style airbag (seen above) that surrounds all passengers while protecting them from both front and side collisions. Zoox states that its goal is to provide each and every seat in its robotaxi with the highest possible level of safety, flipping the script on traditional vehicles that can only deliver such reassurances to the front seat. Vehicle safety senior manager Markus Jost elaborated:

As part of going beyond what is required, we have applied the FMVSS performance requirements to our rear seating positions. This sets a higher bar than in a conventional vehicle.

Another design feature that makes the ride in a Zoox robotaxi efficient while simultaneously offering added safety is the EV’s crumple zone during a crash. Since the vehicle is designed for efficient mobility and tight turns, it is super compact, leaving little room for crumpling. This is quite evident in the crash test footage you’ll see below.

By moving the driving module and motor well inside the compact space of Zoox’s proprietary EV architecture, the platform can absorb much of the impact, dispersing the incoming force before it even reaches the passengers inside. Zoox boldly states that this architecture design is not just a first for autonomous robotaxis but for the entire vehicle industry.

With promising crash test results already underway, Zoox moves ever closer to commercialized public robotaxi rides in the US, and we can’t wait to take a spin in one of them. Be sure to check out the full crash test video from Zoox below:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.



About Author

You may also like


Putin attempts to undermine oil price cap as global energy markets fracture

  • December 28, 2022
Russia’s announcement of an oil export ban on countries that abide by a G-7 price cap is the latest sign

European natural gas prices return to pre-Ukraine war levels

  • December 29, 2022
A worker walks past gas pipes that connect a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit ship with the main land in