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GM Begins Testing Cruise Automation Self-Driving System On Arizona Roads

By Victor Thomson , Aug 11, 2016 05:22 AM EDT
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GM announced that it started testing the Cruise Automation autonomous driving system in Arizona.

According to Tech Crunch, the automaker giant General Motors has acquired the autonomous driving technology startup Cruise in March this year. The acquisition comes to support GM's strategy of developing driverless systems for its car models.

The self-driving technology acquired by GM from Cruise is being tested in Arizona, on public roads in Scottsdale by Chevrolet Bolt all-electric vehicles. This newest test adds to GM's testing vehicles, which are already operating in San Francisco.

GM's Chevy Bolt cars operating Cruise's self-driving technology hit San Francisco streets in May. Up to date, beyond acknowledging that it was doing testing, GM has provided only a few details.

According to market analysts, in terms of exploiting its Cruise acquisition, GM has some aggressive goals. Rumors suggest that the automaker hopes to start tests within a year using self-driving taxis in partnership with Lyft.

Since the area is already used to testing Google self-driving cars, Scottsdale makes sense for a field test for GM's Cruise Automation systems as well. Local Motors and other several auto-related startups have a major presence in the region or are entirely based there.

Arizona is one of the American states that have strong regulatory support for self-driving vehicle tests. Another reason for choosing this area for tests is the fact that GM's Innovation Center is based in nearby Chandler.

According to Fortune, the greater Phoenix area that includes Scottsdale has become a hot hub for developing and testing autonomous driving technology. The publication has reported before that Cruise Automation facilities have been opened in Phoenix, but General Motors did not provide details about their plans in that area.

Another reason Phoenix is a hotspot for self-driving cars is the steady influx of talent from local universities, the low-cost of operating in the state and the state government's support for testing autonomous cars on its roads. Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order in the year 2015, authorizing university pilot programs and supporting the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles on public roads.

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