Arizona Opening Test Facility for Autonomous Vehicle
PHOENIX, AZ. – October 11, 2018 (macon.com) Arizona is opening a facility dedicated to researching and testing autonomous vehicles, according to an online news report from macon.com.*
On October 11, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order for creation of the Institute for Automated Mobility. The facility will focus on self-driving vehicle technology and integration within the real world, Ducey said in a statement. Several state agencies and public universities in the state, as well as technology company Intel, are partnering on the project to open the institute.
Plans for the facility include a simulation lab for testing road scenarios, and findings related to safety issues will be published by academics from the partnering universities. Ducey’s senior adviser for science and technology, Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, described the facility as offering a “concierge-type service” for research and development. The Arizona Commerce Authority will oversee the facility.
A location for the facility has not yet been disclosed, but Phoenix seems a likely possibility. The city has been a testing ground for driverless technology for some time. However, it was also the site of the first self-driving vehicle fatality. In early 2018, a self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe. Elaine Herzberg was walking her bicycle across the road when an Uber vehicle hit her. The vehicle did not brake when it sensed Herzberg, and the human safety driver in the Uber was watching a video on her phone and not looking at the road at the time.
Uber and the rest of the self-driving vehicle industry have struggled to rebound from the incident and the ways it affected public perception of autonomous vehicle technology.
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