back to article Zoox blurs line between workers and crash test dummies in robo-taxi trial

Amazon's robo-taxi division Zoox will be using employees as guinea pigs after the company completed the first trials of its driverless vehicle on public roads. Zoox, acquired by Amazon in 2020 for $1.3 billion, announced that over the weekend, its bug-shaped robo-taxi had taken to the open road navigating a one-mile stretch …

  1. trevorde Silver badge

    Art inspires life

    [Quaid wakes up in a Johnnycab]

    Douglas Quaid : Where am I?

    Johnnycab : You're in a Johnnycab.

    Douglas Quaid : I mean, what am I doing here?

    Johnnycab : I'm sorry. Would you please rephrase the question?

    Douglas Quaid : How did I get in this taxi?

    Johnnycab : The door opened. You got in.

    [Johnnycab rolls his eyes]

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [the taxicab pulls up]

    Johnnycab : The fare is 18 credits, please.

    [Quaid gets out]

    Douglas Quaid : Sue me, dickhead!

    [cab tries to run him down, crashes, and explodes]

    Johnnycab : We hope you enjoyed the ride!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [Quaid enters a Johnnycab to escape from killers]

    Johnnycab : Please state the street and number.

    Douglas Quaid : Drive! drive!

    Johnnycab : I'm not familiar with that address. Would you please repeat the destination?

    Douglas Quaid : Anywhere just go! Go!

    Johnnycab : I'm not familiar with that address. Would you please repeat the destination?

    Douglas Quaid : Shit! shit!

    Johnnycab : Would you please repeat the destination?

    Douglas Quaid : [Quaid rips the Johnnycab out and starts to drive himself] Aaahhh!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100802/characters/nm0000585

  2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    It also means that just the Johnny Cabs from Total Recall, there’s no way for Arnold — or anyone else for that matter — to take control and go for a joyride.

    So that means there's no way for anyone to take control if the vehicle goes rogue and decides to go for a joyride itself? Hmmm... count me out.

    1. short

      It'll have an open telnet port, I'm sure, so don't worry, 'anyone' will be able to take control.

      I feel reassured by this forward thinking.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        open telnet port and

        ... hardcoded admin password - for debugging purposes, as they will note in the apology.

    2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Devil

      it also means that when they will be deployed to UK, they will drive only on the right side of the road, not on the wrong one...

  3. lglethal Silver badge
    Trollface

    Would the CEO, CTO, CFO and CPO come forward? Would you mind, climbing into this small little test auto? We'll be taking you on a small trip towards the coast. It's perfectly safe! Umm, why are you pushing your VP's in front of you?

    1. Ignazio

      Came here to say the same.

  4. Johnb89

    This IS open to the general public

    The general public IS involved, in that these things are on 'open roads'. Other cars, pedestrians, cyclists, whatnot are all participating, unwittingly, like it or not.

    1. itsthemonkey

      Re: This IS open to the general public

      No point in objecting here, I pointed out two typos in my post, they both got corrected but my post was rejected….Not inspiring, you can read comments which may not relate to the version the poster saw at the time they were written….

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: This IS open to the general public

        Use the send corrections link at the top to report errors, then we don't have to wade through comments relating to mistakes which have been fixed.

  5. IGotOut Silver badge

    Call me when the can navigate...

    an English country road.

    Soft verges, unsignposted bends, 60mph speed limits, single track lanes with incoming traffic, horses, fords, bends that have a farm entrance straight ahead, mud all over the road, no road markings....shall I go on?

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Call me when the can navigate...

      An ex-colleague (Somehow running two text conversations & a phone call to 3 different ladies (Pre distracted driving laws)) & my ex-brother in-law* would drive the streets of Essex & Kent in typical London wide boy style.

      Putting them in a car (As driver or passenger) in a country lane & watching them enter a state of high anxiety was hilarious.

      *Who despite being a father of two, his first time seeing heavily pregnant cows being walked to milking, thought the whole calf/udder area was one gigantic pair of breasts

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Call me when the can navigate...

      Never mind fords, the Peugeots are the real hazard.

      I'll get me coat.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: Call me when the can navigate...

        No, the "alleged vehicles" are the hazards...

    3. PeterM42
      Trollface

      Re: Call me when the can navigate...

      Potholes - you forgot the potholes!

      We used to drive on the road,

      Now we drive on what is left of the road.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Call me when the can navigate...

      From what (I've seen on the telly, there are rural parts of NE USA like that, but that doesn't seem to be where any of this testing is happening.

    5. mIVQU#~(p,

      Re: Call me when the can navigate...

      Potholes

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bicyclists?

    "The company says the vehicle can travel at speeds up to 35MPH while navigating left and right-hand turns, traffic lights, bicyclists, vehicles, and other road users."

    Why do I want to avoid "bicyclists" - some sort of need to keep away from people who swing both ways? :-)

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: bicyclists?

      Everybody riding a bike is busy taking up *way* less space than drivers, directly reducing traffic (the idiots who cycle in the middle of the lane at all times notwithstanding).

      You want to avoid cyclists because the more cyclists there are, the faster you can drive to your destination.

      I could point out other things that are less directly beneficial to you but I suspect, given your attitude, that you're less interested in those reasons to avoid cyclists.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: bicyclists?

      Why do I want to avoid "bicyclists"

      They're just making it clear that unicyclist, tricyclists, quadcyclists and tandems riders are all fair game. The whole of the UBTQ+ community ought to be outraged.

  7. disgruntled yank

    dogfooding

    "Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures"

    The opening of Book I of the Iliad, as translated by Samuel Butler. (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3atext%3a1999.01.0217)

  8. Persona

    Lifts?

    I remember lifts having human operators who turn a lever to make the lift car speed up or slow down and stop at the right floor. A good operator could stop the lift within a couple of inches of teh correct floor level. There was a time when people were very wary about using lifts without operators. These days people don't worry, though I do recall everyone else was quick to vacate the lift (elevator) I was in when one of the cables broke.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Lifts?

      I can see where your analogy is coming from, BUT a lift does not have to worry about people, or bicycles in the shaft, nor other lifts in it's shaft. It just goes up and down. It needs to get it's position correct, and make sure no people are stuck in the doors, etc when it wants to close them, but that's it.

      If an automated car had it's own dedicated lane, which was protected against anything else using that lane, and it was simply going from A to B, then I dont think anyone would have too many problems with it. BUT that's not what we have, these automated cars are trying to use regular roads, filled with other cars, bicycles, pedestrians, trucks and so on. The technology is not there yet to deal with the many unexpected problems that arise in the real world. That's why people are wary of these systems, and rightly so.

      Ask yourself why there are not more automated trains out there? They do exist, for example the DLR in London. BUT those trains are on dedicated lines, that only those trains can use. You dont see Automated Systems on the complex train networks of France, Germany, Sydney, London, etc. And a train is 100x a better target than a car for automated systems. It has a dedicated line (the tracks) to follow, it's very rare that you get things on the line EXCEPT other trains. And yet the technology is not considered good enough there to be put into mass use. So why people think it would ever be good enough for a car is beyond me...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lifts?

        Lifts were automated over a century ago with the technology of the time. As you rightly point out, driving on a public road is a much more complex task, but we're starting to get the technology to cope with that complexity. I have no doubt full self diving cars are coming.

      2. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: Lifts?

        Plus, getting stuck in a lift is unlikely to kill you (or anyone else), Also, there's an emergency call button (and often an intercom) to raise the alarm, and everyone knows exactly where the stuck lift is.

        Moving in traffic is a way more complicated problem and much nore hazardous.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Lifts?

        "And a train is 100x a better target than a car for automated systems."

        Unfortunately, despite being the best target for automation, there are little obstacles like unions in the way :-)

        1. newspuppy

          Re: Lifts? Unions little obstacles?

          Unions are the biggest roadblock to automation.

          Unfortunately, in the rail world, automation would be a simpler implementation then on open roads. Yet, Unions are doing everything to slow the advancement, yielding higher prices for punters, and (in my opinion) lower quality of service. Most accident reports show that human error ( boredom, tiredness, inattentiveness, drug use) were the causes of accidents.

          Automating repetitive work is automaton's sweet spot.

          That job losses shall follow is undeniable, yet instead of a luddite union attitude, one should think of how the help transition workers out into a different career.

          The Locomotive Act 1865 in the UK and in the US Vermont in 1894 passed their own version, forcing self propelled vehicle operators to have 3 people, one in front walking with red flag (warniing horses and others that a 'horseless carriage was approaching'). This attempt slowed the use of cars.... but.. here we are.. and all the poor stable-hands, hay feed deliveries, blacksmiths.... no more.....

          but we do have petrol stations, tyre service, auto service stations...

          the only constant is change..... resistance is useless....

  9. Nameless Dread

    "Amenities"

    ... a steering wheel, gear shift, accelerator, or brake pedal... amenities ...

    Ironic, or what?

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