The physical distance between Detroit and Phoenix is exactly 2,007 miles. But in other important ways these two regions are becoming much closer, despite vastly different climates, terrains, and cultures. This newfound kinship is largely built around rapidly advancing innovation in autonomous vehicle technology, and the role the Phoenix area has played in its early testing phase.
Just how fast is self-driving vehicle technology developing? Consider that General Motors recently announced that it has rolled off of its production line in Orion, Michigan, 130 shiny new self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV test vehicles – the only company to assemble autonomous vehicles in a mass production facility. These fully integrated self-driving vehicles will be added to GM’s existing fleet of 50 test vehicles. With production scale capability now proven, the pace of robust self-driving vehicle testing will accelerate. In turn, that will help take us closer to the beginning of actual safe deployment of cars without drivers.
And this is where Arizona comes into play. Visionary leaders at all levels – from Governor Ducey to local elected officials – sent the clearest signals early on, that self-driving vehicles would be welcome here. Arizona’s forward-thinking embrace of this new technology has been returned by the industry, with robust vehicle testing programs underway in Scottsdale, Tempe, and Chandler. With this pioneering approach, Arizona rightly claims a leading role in advancing this breakthrough technology in the U.S.
But it should come as no surprise that others are catching on and catching up. Perhaps inspired by the leadership of Governor…
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