To build a new kind of transportation, we also had to build a new way to test
Bringing it all together
Zoox is an all-new kind of transportation, built from scratch.
This ground-up approach has enabled us to reimagine every part of the vehicle. Zoox isn’t one new piece of technology; it’s hundreds, working together in harmony.
Because of that, we have a lot of testing to do. To make Zoox safe and reliable, we need to understand how different systems interact and how the vehicle as a whole responds to faults, pitfalls, and unpredictable situations.
That’s where LabBot, the most flexible member of our crew, comes in.
See LabBot in action
In the loop
LabBot is our pioneering hardware-in-the-loop vehicle testing system.
It brings together almost every part of the Zoox vehicle in a secure lab environment at our Foster City HQ, allowing us to perform extensive testing earlier in the development process.
LabBot in action
The most regular users of LabBot are our engineering teams—particularly our Firmware and System Design and Mission Assurance (SDMA) teams. These crew members are responsible for getting Zoox ready for public roads and ensuring safety and reliability in every situation.
By injecting real or synthetic faults—from a software bug to a brake failure—into LabBot, our engineers can understand how the Zoox vehicle will respond to a huge range of real-world situations.
But LabBot’s utility doesn’t end there. Our manufacturing teams use it to understand how vehicle components should be assembled on the production line. And our User Experience teams use it to test features like interior lighting and the wireless phone charger.
Hardware-in-the-loop testing systems aren’t unusual—but LabBot is unusually versatile. It enables us to learn more, faster, and unify every part of the Zoox experience.
“With LabBot, we can test things that would be prohibitively expensive—or dangerous—to discover on the track. That ultimately means we can design a better vehicle faster without compromising on our vision for safety.”
Qi Hommes, Director of System Safety Engineering and Analysis
LabBot isn’t just one system. There are two separate configurations, which we use to test different things.
DynoBot includes all of the vehicle’s driving components, from actuators to axles to brakes, and it’s connected to powerful dynos that physically simulate real movement That allows us to emulate real-world environments and see how the actual components will behave once they reach the test track.
A close-up of DynoBot
GoldenBot is a stationary bot that we use to test a wider range of features, from door opening to phone charging. The key question here is system integration: how do components that have been developed separately work together?
GoldenBot with Firmware Engineers Nigil and Aaron
Because GoldenBot includes all of the vehicle’s electrical parts, right down to the wiring, we can be more confident that what’s true here will also be true for the actual vehicle. That makes for fewer surprises later on.
Both systems also allow us to run automated tests without reconfiguring the bot between each one. That means we can test more rapidly and with more precision than a human would ever be able to. And we can repeat tests over and over, timing and logging everything to the millisecond.
Go fast, go for gold
Together, our LabBot systems comprise a uniquely versatile hardware-in-the-loop testing platform.
We can quickly test new ideas and components with DynoBot, and get a good picture of how they will work on our test track (and, ultimately, on the road). And we can validate everything with GoldenBot, streamlining our track testing and manufacturing effort.
The end result is that we know more about each iteration of our vehicle early in the process—long before it hits our test track. Armed with this knowledge, we’re better able to deliver on our mission.
Changing the way we get around was never going to be easy. But it’s a lot easier with LabBot by our side.