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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.

Mike Allen, author of AM
43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Anita Dunn advises Dems on economy message for '22

Signs from a President Biden event yesterday in Kansas City, Mo. Photo: Chase Castor/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a midterm preview, top Democratic strategist Anita Dunn advises the party's House and Senate members to frame Republicans "as being against the economic interests of working Americans."

What she's saying: "Explicitly framing Republicans as opposing policies to lower costs does better than simply framing Republicans as the 'party of no,'" Dunn, White House senior adviser until August, writes in the memo.

JPMorgan: "Full global recovery" in 2022

Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase Global Research says in a forecast to clients: "2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, an end of the global pandemic, and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the COVID-19 outbreak."

The big picture: The bullish report sees "a return of global mobility, and a release of pent-up demand from consumers (e.g. travel, services)."