Car owners can go to great lengths to improve the performance of their vehicles. Things like cold air intakes can bring you about +15HP, and an increase of one to two MPG. One thing that a typical car can’t do, though, is drive itself. But some of the research that may make it common place is coming to Arizona.
GM plans to expand the testing of their driverless cars to public roads in Arizona. The tests will use the all-electric Chevy Bolt, which was developed with the help of Cruise Automation, a GM acquisition from earlier this year.
GM, which has been experimenting with autonomous vehicle tech for years, has recently announced new initiatives that outline the company’s interest in self-driving cars and other cutting-edge technologies.
GM has also partnered with Lyft, the ride-sharing app, to begin usage tests with self-driving taxis by the middle of next year. Tests are to take place mostly in Scottsdale, where Google is already testing self-driving car technology.
Corporate vested interest in driverless car technology is getting serious. GM and Honda are soon joining the License on Transfer (LOT) patent network, which includes Google, Hyundai, Ford, and Uber. The network is intended to combat patent “trolling,” where companies with portfolios of patents — that don’t make the products — threaten to sue.
The car companies, by joining the network, enter into a mutual nonaggression pact, which should help protect their interests and foster technological innovation.
Arizona might be such a self-driving car technology hot spot because of the weather — the dust and high temperatures will help engineers test the technology in extreme conditions. The influx of talent from universities and low cost of operations doesn’t hurt either.