Autonomous Vehicle

Amazon self-driving cars headed to Seattle

Amazon’s self-driving cars are coming to Seattle, Washington, in an expansion of the trials already underway in San Francisco and Las Vegas. Amazon’s Zoox unit plans to deploy a fleet of Toyota Highlanders with sensor technology and autonomous driving software.

The cars will be operating at level-3 autonomy, with the car able to navigate point-to-point trips in conditions, but with a human operator backup, typical in most autonomous vehicle (AV) trials.

The plan is to add road knowledge in the more temperate weather conditions in the Northwest into the Zoox artificial intelligence (AI) software. The highway laws in Seattle differ from those in Las Vegas and San Francisco, with the top speed in Seattle set at 25 compared to 30 mph in the other cities.

Data extracted from Zoox’s test program would feed into automation calibration, localization and mapping across local terrain and populate 3D charts for road features like traffic lights, bike lanes and speed limit notifications. Amazon acquired California-based Zoox in 2020.

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