Google Expands Self-Driving Car Testing to Phoenix, Arizona

Google's self-driving Lexus RX450h 1 photo
Photo: Google
Google has taken four of its self-driving cars to Phoenix for the next phase of its testing program.
The American tech giant chose Phoenix as the fourth city to test its autonomous vehicles because of the weather in the state of Arizona, as well as other atmospheric conditions found there.

To be exact, Google engineers want to see how their self-driving technology handles scorching temperatures and dust, and Phoenix was chosen as the best city in the USA to experience both.

According to The Next Web, Google’s test fleet will first create a detailed map of the city, and then it will start driving in a fully autonomous manner. Google wants to have updated information on Phoenix streets, lane markers, traffic signals, and even curb heights.

The company from Mountain View (California) has not specified how long it will take for its fleet of test vehicles to gather the data required for self-driving car operations.

Google has been testing autonomous cars on US roads for the past six years, and their fleet has surpassed the 1.5 million miles (2.4 million kilometers) mark. While the fleet of self-driving cars from Google has been through various weather and road conditions, it is a surprise that it took this long for them to enter testing in hot temperatures.

Even so, we find Google’s thoroughness in testing a magnificent thing. Even though their cars are probably able to drive themselves with the onboard sensors alone, the company still maps the infrastructure to be sure that everything is in order.

Naturally, since Google is also a supplier of navigation tools and the Street View technology, it does not hurt them to re-study each city with maximum accuracy.

This new testing phase makes us wonder what Google will do next with their self-driving cars. To the best of our knowledge, conventional automakers use California’s Death Valley for testing prototypes in extreme heat on public roads, so Phoenix was not the hottest place they could have gone to.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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