Seemingly straight out of a futuristic sci-fi movie, self-driving cars may soon be a reality. Multiple big-name companies are racing to release robotaxis – self-driving cars meant to ferry passengers between destinations. Zoox, a self-driving car company acquired by Amazon earlier in 2020 unveiled its robotaxi in December after years of secrecy. In the same month, it was reported that Apple’s electric vehicle project, code named Project Titan, is underway and the company hopes to put out its autonomous vehicles by 2024. AutoX, a start-up backed by Alibaba also recently began deploying unmanned vehicles on the streets of Shenzhen, China, testing its technology without a back-up driver or remote operator.



自动驾驶汽车(AV)背后的最大动机之一是安全因素。A 2016 研究 by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that over 90% of traffic accidents are the result of human error. The hope with AVs is that self-driving technology would be better able to react well and quickly to an obstacle in order to avoid an accident. This technology relies on LiDAR, which stands for “light detection and ranging”. LiDAR is a sonar that uses laser waves to map out distance to surrounding objects. Using this function, AVs would be able to estimate distances and spaces far better than humans can. For instance, Zoox’s self-driving car uses LiDAR to obtain a 270-degree field of view, eliminating drivers’ typical blind spots. With this, vehicles can constantly track its surrounding and avoid being blind sided by a sudden obstacle.

与电动汽车一样,自动驾驶汽车的另一个希望是减少排放。据预测,自动驾驶汽车可以 减少排放60%.自动驾驶汽车也可以提高能源效率,因为它们可以优化驾驶,更有效地加速和减速。


Tesla cars already have some self-driving features. Tesla’s 自动驾驶 是一种驾驶辅助系统,允许车辆在其车道内自动转向、加速和刹车。目前,自动驾驶功能必须与一个全神贯注的司机一起使用,司机的手必须保持在方向盘上,准备在必要时接管。 

Fully driverless autonomous vehicles are still undergoing safety testing. Google’s Waymo had been performing months of closed testing both with and without a safety driver. In the middle of 2020, its driverless vehicles were open to the public within a few service areas in Phoenix, Arizona. While the scope of its operation is still limited, its results are promising. Currently, the vehicles only operate on roads with a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour and service has not yet expanded across the entire city. 然而,已经尝试过这项服务的人对它感到满意。

AutoX有 部署其完全自主的车辆 在深圳的街道上,但它们还没有对公众开放。该公司还获得了在加州开始无人驾驶测试的许可。

Zoox’s prototype vehicle is very different from its competitors; its design is unlike a traditional car and there is no steering wheel or brake pedal. Without a safety driver, testing, especially on public roads, would be more complicated than its counterparts. Zoox has not stated its timeline for testing on public roads.


Proving the safeness of these vehicles is one of the biggest challenges that these companies have to overcome. While the hope is that AI can better avoid accidents, this has not always rung true. Tesla’s Autopilot has come under scrutiny a few times for failing to stop accidents. Many factors could play into these occurrences, however it does not help in fostering trust in the public mindset.

汽车文化的转变也必须发生。许多这些机器人出租车公司希望看到从私人乘用车到这些共享汽车的转变,以减少道路上的车辆数量。然而,这是否会发生,还有待观察。即使随着Uber或Lyft等乘车公司的崛起,一些研究表明,道路上的车辆数量实际上已经 增加,有更多的司机在等着接客。机器人轴必须是一个诱人的选择,以便与现有的东西竞争。

此外,自动驾驶汽车仍受制于其能力。 电动汽车电池. Zoox’s robotaxi is fitted with a 133kWh battery which can 过去16小时 before being charged. This battery is much larger than ones currently in EVs, with Tesla’s biggest battery coming in at 90千瓦时.虽然这种电池尺寸几乎可以全天运行,但其缺点是重量。尽管Zoox出租车设计紧凑,但其重量为5401磅。