The Arizona Department of Transportation recently issued a statement encouraging companies with self-driving vehicles to consider Arizona as their testing grounds.
One reason Arizona is desirable to companies such as Uber for testing autonomous vehicles is that Arizona does not require special permits or licenses to test so-called "driverless" vehicles. Autonomous vehicles have the exact same registration requirements as any other vehicle using the roads. No Arizona laws prohibit the testing of autonomous vehicles.
In 2015, Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order that supports testing and operating autonomous vehicles in Arizona. Part of this included creating the Self-Driving Vehicle Oversight Committee, which will work with companies developing self-driving vehicle technology to create a supportive environment while also promoting public safety.
Uber originally planned to test its self-driving vehicles in California, but did not acquire permits that the state required. Instead, Uber shipped its fleet of autonomous Volvos to Arizona to test. Even though the vehicles are considered self-driving, humans sit in the front seats during the driving process to ensure safety and to guarantee the cars travel as designed.
"We hope this cooperation and common-sense approach, combined with the state’s favorable climate, encourage even more companies to test autonomous vehicles in Arizona," said the note on the ADOT website.
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