Almost two months to the day after the Uber loaded its fleet of self-driving SUVs into the trailer of a self-driving truck and stormed off to Arizona in a self-driving huff, the company is preparing to launch its second experiment in autonomous ride-hailing reports The Verge.
The ride shairing platform rolled out its pilot self-driving car program first in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and then in San Francisco mid-December with 16 self-driving vehicles but ran into issues with the state of California when the California DMV insisted Uber cars needed to get a $150 self-driving car permit before driving on California roads. Uber refused, then one of the self-driving cars ran a red light, drama ensued. One week later, off to Arizona the Volvos went.
The residents of Tempe, Arizona, can hail a self-driving Volvo XC90 SUV on Uber’s ride-sharing platform. All trips will include two Uber engineers in the front seats as safety drivers, in the event a human needs to take over control from the vehicle’s software. ride shairing platform says it hopes to expand the coverage area to other cities in Arizona in the coming weeks. The company first started allowing riders to take trips in its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh last September.
The Arizona program has firm support from state Governor Doug Ducey, who’s been a proponent of the plan since the day these automated vehicles showed up, telling Uber the state welcomed the companies self-driving fleet, “with open arms and wide open roads.”
It’s however not the first time Arizona has taken a much more liberal stance on driving tech.