Aisha Evans, CEO of Zoox, believes her company’s electric, autonomous taxis, will have an impact on commuting; while her company will have an impact of better business practices, including diversity. (Photo by Winni Wintermeyer)

Zoox CEO Says Driverless Vehicles Will Mean Less Parking Spaces, More Time

When Amazon bought Zoox, the automated vehicle company, it invested in the future that likely will translate into fewer cars on the road and the new paradigm of vehicles that are for hire, instead of taking up space in someone’s garage.

Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox, said that the vehicles, which are meant to be used as self-driving taxis in major cities, ultimately will change the way people live and travel from place to place.

“A city like San Francisco that has housing issues and is worried about business flight has 30% of its real estate footprint dedicated to parking,” Evans said. “So if people were using Zoox to go from point A to point B, those buildings could be replaced, reclaimed for businesses or for housing and parks.”

Evans said the electric vehicle was designed from the ground up to replace human drivers, using robotics, sensors, AI and powerful computing to make it customized for being safe and efficient.

“The world 30, 40 years from now will look very different,” Evans said. “We talk about autonomy as really the beginning of a wave. Sort of like also what happened with the internet and then the PC and then wireless, and then the smartphone.”

Evans also points out that diversity is important to the company and that it will help even the playing field for minorities in terms of the workforce and how the companies encourage mentors for a broad group of people.

“I don’t actually wake up every day thinking I’m a Black woman with power in tech,” Evans said. “Occasionally when I’m getting pulled over or when somebody is doing something stupid, I am reminded, but I don’t want to be an angry person all the time. I don’t think that’s very productive. What I do think about is, I represent opportunity. I represent that it is possible. I’ve spent a lot of time asking myself: What is embedded systematically that makes this rare, and how can we break that down?”

The fascinating Q & A is well worth reading.