Thursday, August 11

Google Calls for Arizona Residents to Test New Self-Driving Cars

Google is offering an exciting opportunity to qualified Phoenix residents: the chance to test the company’s self-driving cars before they hit the market.

The tech giant is calling for Arizona-based candidates to apply for the position of “vehicle safety specialist.” The job entails the operation of a driverless vehicle for six to eight hours per day, five days a week, while gathering data and providing feedback. Test drivers will analyze their experiences and give engineers feedback regarding how the car drives and interacts with other vehicles on the road.

Though many people might jump at the chance to do this job for free, Google plans to pay its vehicle safety specialists $20 per hour. It’s not a bad deal when one considers the fact that actual driving is not really part of the job description.

However, not just anyone can qualify for the position. Even the job of “test driver” – or rather, “test rider” – follows Google’s high standards. Applicants will be required to have a bachelor’s degree, a clean driving record, and no criminal background. They also must be capable of typing at least 40 words per minute, as they will be required to complete daily reports using a computer. Applicants will also have to pass a number of training procedures.

Brian Torcellini, the head of operations for Google’s self-driving vehicle test program, has noted that the company is looking for local drivers in particular because they will be more familiar with the roads.

Google and other automakers in the process of developing autonomous cars have experimented with a variety of different makes and models. In 2012, Nevada issued the first license for a self-driving car to a Toyota Prius, which, notably, is a hybrid vehicle. Hybrid cars are up to 35% more fuel efficient than the traditional gas-powered vehicle, making Google’s first licensed autonomous car attractive to environmentalists as well.

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