Amazon’s Zoox, the self-driving startup launched by Australian Tim Kentley-Klay, and backed in its early stages by Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, is readying to launch its autonomous vehicle on Monday (US time).
The self-driving vehicle was captured on the road outside San Francisco’s Fairmont hotel for professional pictures in the lead up to the launch – but of course it did not go unnoticed, with images of the photography session quickly finding their way online.
Ashlee Vance – author of a biography about Tesla CEO Elon Musk – shared images of the vehicle undergoing the photoshoot on Sunday in preparation for the launch.
Sounds like Zoox will unveil this vehicle on Monday. It's quite the story. Have been checking in with them since it was like 12 people working at a SLAC firehouse. (thread) pic.twitter.com/x3njlcaspN
— Ashlee Vance (@ashleevance) December 12, 2020
Eight LiDAR systems at the corners of the car are clearly visible, although they are not integrated into the body, but instead protrude a little. This has the advantage that the system can better capture some critical areas – such as the side of the car.
The now planned official presentation of the vehicle also suggests that Amazon would definitely like to pursue the original idea of the startup.
It is believed that in June, Atlassian co-founder Cannon-Brookes cashed in on a lucrative “ratchet” provision that formed part of his $US100 million investment in the company after it was bought by Amazon.
Immediately after the takeover, however, there was speculation that the internet giant could only be interested in the startup’s expertise in order to further automate the processes in its own warehouses.
The idea behind this was that the costly investments in the development of a robot taxi have little to do with Amazon’s core business. On the other hand, this could of course also result in an extremely lucrative new business area.
The startup tweeted on Sunday that it would kick off the live launch for its autonomous vehicle at Monday 14 December, 12pm Pacific Standard Time (4am Tuesday AEDT).
— Zoox (@zoox) December 13, 2020
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.