Google’s autonomous prototypes arrive in Phoenix
Google has reportedly brought its fleet of autonomous prototype vehicles to the Phoenix metro area.
The search giant has slowly rolled out its test program to new markets, after spending several years operating prototype cars in its home city of Mountain View, California.
Expanding into new cities provides Google with opportunities to test its autonomous driving algorithms in unique environments. Other trial regions include Austin, Texas, and Kirkland, Washington.
“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,” said Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for Google’s self-driving car project, as quoted by Reuters.
The company operates a fleet of heavily modified Lexus RX450h crossovers, along with a smaller two-seater — designed in-house — that only operates at slow speeds on certain roads. The latter model could eventually spawn a production vehicle, potentially operating as a self-driving competitor to Uber and Lyft.