Self-driving car company Zoox took a big step in helping to pioneer development of autonomous ride-hailing when it unveiled the all-electric robotaxi in December. And much of the company’s work that led to that milestone – including business operations, manufacturing and maintenance of the vehicle test fleet – has been supplied with clean power at their Foster City headquarters. “While we help improve the air quality in the places we drive, we don’t want to simply transfer those saved emissions to the grid via power plant emissions,” said Doug Gould, Senior Manager – Strategic Partnerships & Procurement at Zoox.
Zoox, which was founded in 2014 and acquired by Amazon last year, has been a Peninsula Clean Energy customer since 2016. The company has a multi-pronged sustainability strategy that includes “supporting renewable energy sources, such as wind energy to power our vehicles and facilities,” Gould said.
And the robotaxi itself is an ambitious effort to “leverage artificial intelligence and robotics to create safer, more sustainable, and more enjoyable transportation,” he said. Autonomous vehicles more broadly “have the potential to significantly transform our society by transforming safety, mobility, and sustainability in ways that have not yet been imagined,” he added. “We can move from reactive road safety to a proactive approach that focuses on preventing crashes. And moving to electric and alternate fuel sources provides a path to decreasing the one-third of greenhouse gases related to current transportation systems.”
This “transformation” can also go far beyond just the automotive sector in “offering innovative opportunities to save lives, move people, and enhance the sustainability of our planet,” Gould said.
“The advent of the internal combustion engine brought us out of the age of the horse and carriage and into the age of the automobile,” he said. Artificial intelligence, he added, “will take us out of the age of the gas-powered automobile and into the era of the fully autonomous battery-electric vehicle.”
And this is just the beginning, he stressed. “We are only getting started in our sustainability and clean energy journey,” Gould said. “We continue to assess how sustainable our supply chain is and how we can improve.”
Using 100-percent carbon-free power from Peninsula Clean Energy is an important step in that journey.