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I wonder why most autonomous vehicle projects are piloted in Arizona ? loose regulations ?



Having lived in Arizona, it is a perfect place to train autonomous vehicles. Most of the Phoenix region is a grid with wide roads. No inclement weather. Very few pedestrians. Clear road markings, isolated turn lanes. Basically no crazy scenarios like turning right on market street in SF. Given that autonomous cars are struggling in the most friendly environment tells me that they are decades away from ubiquitous rollout


All of those make it sound like a pretty terrible place to train autonomous cars, given how narrow the space of driving situations is. Cities like SF, where driving is kind of miserable, seem a lot more suited to training generalized models.

Though I do agree with you: I recently took a job with a self-driving car co, and am starting shortly (due to the technical challenges and great pay); but the assumed timeline most people are operating under seem pretty optimistic to me. That being said, I think much of the industry isn't expecting fully autonomous vehicles until at least the 2040s.


There's plenty of difficult places to train the robocars and I see them there often.

I rarely (if ever) see them on the westside where the roads are nice, logical grids but mostly Tempe, Scottsdale and Chandler where they aren't so nice and neat. Nothing like driving around SF admittedly.


I actually happened to spend the week of Thanksgiving in Scottsdale (incl a lot of time in old Town), and yea, it doesn't really compare. Weather, hills, pedestrian density and behavior, complexity of street signs and road rules, etc etc etc.


Didn't their governor sign an executive order a couple years ago to try to make the state the leader in self driving cars?

Edit: Yeah, here's[0] an article that mentions it. The governor came under fire for it when that uber car killed the pedestrian.

[0] https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2018/03/20/ducey-up...


I'm curious to know this as well. I always assumed it was to do with comparatively sparse population, good visibility, lack of 'old' infrastructure, lack of weather incidents (rain/snow/etc).


Good weather


This and no hills... which means you have lots of options for routes, because everything's on a damn near perfect grid. Which also makes most of the situations the car encounters much simpler. No strange 5 way stops, no angled or offset intersections. Not even any curves to have to navigate. More opportunity to make 3 rights instead of a left, which these cars seem to be struggling at.


Since when does Arizona have no hills? Most states in the US are flatter than Arizona.


Phoenix has interesting geography. I struggled to describe it, so I checked Wikipedia, which has this succinct description:

"Other than the mountains in and around the city, the topography of Phoenix is generally flat, allowing the city's main streets to run on a precise grid with wide, open-spaced roadways."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix,_Arizona#Geography


Possibly, the flat image might come from Arizona being flat where a large number of the people live, like Phoenix and its outskirts.

Grandparent's "damn near perfect grid" comment also jives with the layout of much of Phoenix.


When the weather gets bad, it's just even hotter. No rain (some short summer monsoons albeit), no ice, snow, tornados, floods, earthquakes, fires, etc. All it ever does is get even hotter, which everyone is prepared for for the most part.


Don't forget the occasional haboob.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYnuzoH5oBA

I doubt our technology is ready for that.


How could i forget the haboob! I was actually in Phoenix for this, it was wild. Like something straight out of the Mummy movies.




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