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Robotaxis Are Going to Sound Weird

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Zoox's autonomous electric van can drive in both directions and seat up to four passengers.

Robotaxis have to use a whole suite of noises to guide a rider through the journey and keep them from doing anything stupid along the way.

Credit: Zoox

You've probably got the whole ride-sharing thing figured out. Call a taxi or Uber, climb into the back seat, chat with the driver a bit, and be on your way. If anything goes wrong, the driver can alert you to what's up. They might already be talking your ear off anyway.

All that helpful interaction goes out the automatic window if the driver behind the wheel is a robot.

Robotaxis are coming, sooner or (probably) later. For years, Alphabet's Waymo and General Motor's Cruise have sent their computerized cars crawling through the streets of San Francisco, and the companies have expanded their programs to other cities. Zoox, the Amazon-owned company that makes toaster-shaped robovans, recently ran its own vehicle tests on public roads. Perhaps in a year or so, pending legal hurdles, you may even be able to call one up on an app and hop in.

From Wired
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