Google’s Self-Driving Cars are Heading to Phoenix

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Google is putting its self-driving cars on the roads of Phoenix, Arizona.

It will be the fourth city that will allow Google to test its self-driving car prototypes, and the new location will give its vehicles a chance to practice driving in a desert environment. In addition, the Lexus RX450h SUVs will get to “experience handling some of Phoenix’s quirks, like cacti, golf cart crossings, and time-based speed limits,” Google said.

The company has been testing its self-driving cars for six years in Mountain View, California, and expanded to Austin, Texas, last summer. It has also added a testing site in Kirkland, Washington, where Google’s prototypes are enduring wet weather testing.

“Arizona is known as a place where research and development is welcome, innovation can thrive, and companies can set up roots,” said Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google Self-Driving Car project. “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.”

The company has recently begun using four Lexus RX450h vehicles around the Phoenix area to create a detailed map of streets, lane markers, traffic signals and curb heights.