Step 1: Build the vehicle

Let’s start with the most complex and time-consuming step—creating our robotaxis. There are two different types of vehicles we use at Zoox. 

First, we have our test vehicle: retrofitted Toyota Highlanders which let us confidently test, validate, and improve our AI, and evolve the hardware and compute. Then we have our purpose-built robotaxis. These are the heart of Zoox: vehicles that will change how people get around. 

On top of designing, testing, and refining our robotaxis to rigorous standards, we’ve set up everything we need to build a full fleet. Manufacturing facilities. Supply chains. Bespoke firmware and software. There’s a huge cross-functional operation behind the scenes. It’s taken nine years to bring it all together. And that was just the first chapter.

Step 2: Understand the city

Every city is different. Driving through the sunny, multi-lane roads of Las Vegas is nothing like navigating the rain and hills of Seattle. 

On top of different weather conditions and landscapes, a city also has its own road rules, layouts, and even driver behavior. We want to make sure our robotaxis can see, understand, and react to whatever a city may throw at them. 

This is where our test vehicles come in. They’re fully equipped with our latest software, but have a safety driver on hand to take over if needed. We deploy them through the city streets, creating detailed maps and investigating the routes we plan to operate in.

Our test vehicle collects all this new data for us to feed into our future software releases. We look at where we can improve and what it will take to deploy safely and effectively in a new city. 

Once we’ve got the lay of the land, we make plans to ensure we have the staff, equipment, and facilities we’ll need when launch time comes. 

Step 3: Testing safety, boosting performance

For Zoox, safety is foundational—always and everywhere. To make sure we hit our rigorous safety targets in a new city, we test, iterate, and test again to improve our robotaxi’s performance. These tests are based on what we learned from exploring the city, so we can be confident our vehicle will rise to that location’s unique challenges. 

We test our vehicles in simulation, then on private tracks, gradually moving to public roads. To hit our safety and performance targets at each stage, our teams fine-tune our software and hardware to ensure everything is working exactly as it’s designed to. 

It’s a long process, but it’s the only way to reach the high performance and safety bars Zoox has set for itself.

Step 4: Getting our license and setting up the service

Once we know our robotaxis can handle the city, we have to make sure they’re ready for the people who live there (and that those cities and people are ready for them). 

We develop the Zoox app and make sure we have the permits we need to drive autonomously on public roads. In 2022, we self-certified our robotaxi to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. And just recently, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) granted us our permit to operate our robotaxi autonomously with employees as passengers on public roads. Zoox was the first purpose-built, fully-autonomous vehicle to reach this momentous milestone. 

With everything in place, we’re running autonomous pilot programs with our robotaxi, gathering rider feedback, and fine-tuning our service. At the same time, we get the word out locally, so that as soon as we launch, our first riders will be ready to get onboard.

Final step: Launch

We’re finally live. Our robotaxis are operating across the city, picking up riders, and dropping them off. People have a new option for getting around—one that’s safe, clean, and easy to access. 

That’s a big achievement, but our work doesn’t stop there. The city is always changing, and we have to be ready to adapt. Plus, we’re constantly figuring out ways to make our service even better. 

So there you have it. Create. Discover. Test. Prepare. Launch. This is our roadmap for bringing Zoox to new riders, new routes, and new cities. With every milestone we hit, we get closer to safer, cleaner, and more enjoyable transportation.  

Plus, we can run this process in multiple places at once. So if you’re wondering when Zoox will be in your city, don’t worry. We’re on our way.