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Zoox robotaxi in San Francisco. Photo: Zoox

Amazon-backed Zoox unveiled on Monday its version of the future of transportation: an autonomous electric vehicle with no steering wheel that might one day be summoned with a ride-hailing app.

Why it matters: It's an important milestone for Zoox, which has ambitious plans to launch an urban robotaxi service using purpose-built vehicles designed and built in-house. Those efforts received a boost in June when Amazon acquired the six-year-old startup for a reported $1.2 billion.

Details: At 12 feet long, the compact vehicle features carriage-style seating, with up to four passengers facing each other on two benches.

  • It can travel in either direction, with motors at each end and four-wheel steering to enable maneuvering in tight spaces.
  • The 133 kWh battery is among the largest in the industry, capable of operating 16 hours between charges.
  • For safety, it features innovative airbags that envelope passengers to keep them separated in a crash.
  • The vehicles features a combination of sensors, including cameras, radar, and lidar to obtain a 270-degree field of view on all four corners of the vehicle.

What they're saying: Zoox CEO Aicha Evans said the vehicle is an important milestone in the company's journey toward commercialization.

  • "As we see the alarming statistics around carbon emissions and traffic accidents, it’s more important than ever that we build a sustainable, safe solution that allows riders to get from point A to point B.”

What to watch: No word yet on when Zoox plans to launch its app-based ride-hailing service or how Amazon might employ the technology for delivery in the future.

Go deeper

General Motors joins the race to electrify package delivery

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

General Motors is launching a new business unit devoted to electrifying the goods delivery market and says package giant FedEx will be the first customer.

Why it matters: Big automakers and startups alike see a huge opportunity.

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."