Google Is Now Testing Autonomous Cars in Phoenix AZ

Self driving cars in Phoenix

Google Expands Autonomous Car Testing to Phoenix

The self- driving car just got closer to Tucson drivers than ever before. Friday April 8th, Google parent company, Alphabet, announced that it would be bringing its autonomous car testing to nearby Phoenix Arizona soon. This announcement marks the fourth city where Google is undergoing live testing of its completely driverless car. The other current locations are Austin Texas, Kirkland Washington and Google’s home base in Mountain View, Calif., being the other three.

Why is Google testing cars in Arizona?
Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google Self-Driving Car project said that Arizona is known as a place where research and development are welcome, innovation can thrive, and companies can set up roots.” Also, Google needs to test its technology in all driving conditions and climates, from three feet of snow, pouring rain and even extreme heat. Arizona drivers certainly know that the Phoenix area has a very desert climate, and Google acknowledges that “The Phoenix area has distinct desert conditions, which will help us better understand how our sensors and cars handle extreme temperatures and dust in the air.”
Unlike other autonomous cars that are considered semi-autonomous and include steering wheels, brakes, and other manual override controls, the Google car is designed without those features. It is designed more like a self -driving passenger compartment than a self-driving car. California has proposed rules requiring a steering wheel, brake pedals, and a licensed driver in all autonomous vehicles on the road, which Google has publicly sparred with the state about as it hinders their testing and the ultimate goal for the car. Arizona is more liberal with their automotive regulations.
The steady march towards driverless cars in Arizona.
Currently, the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) is developing guidance scheduled for a July release regarding autonomous vehicle safety. The NHTSA’s goal is for legislation to be put into place that declares, under federal law the artificial intelligence system in an autonomous car could be considered a driver, thus paving the way for Google’s driverless car to go anywhere it wants to.
As stated in documents published by the NHTSA, “the rapid development of emerging automation technologies means that partially and fully automated vehicles are nearing the point at which widespread deployment is feasible.” In other words, the NHTSA recognizes that the speed and advancement that car makers are gaining towards a partially or fully driverless car, that legislation discussions, development, and new laws need to be written to handle these technologies. The self-driving car is literally pulling into our driveways.
A focus on safety for all drivers
The NHTSA recognizes that bringing self-driving cars to the public requires a rigorous testing regime that provides sufficient data to determine safety performance and help policymakers at all levels make informed decisions about deployment.
The automotive industry and peer to peer technology platforms play a key role in this process by both conducting such testing and in providing data that establish the safety benefits of automation technologies that exceed the current level of roadway safety.
The NHTSA states that within six months, they will propose best-practice guidance to industry on establishing principles of safe operation for fully autonomous vehicles. These guidelines will be the basic nation framework used in testing and development as well as new state and federal laws that will need to be written to address driverless cars.
During this development phase, the NHTSA and the Department of Transportation has declared that they will work with States, and other governmental entities and with industry to help ensure that this testing takes place in a way that protects safety on today’s roads while increasing safety for tomorrow.
NHTSA will continue its extensive research program to maintain its broad and deep understanding of new technologies. This knowledge base is essential in the agency’s efforts to determine what new tools might be necessary to ensure advanced technologies achieve their life-saving potential.
So Tucson drivers, the driverless car is literally only and hour and a half away.
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