MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — The latest test bed for Google's self-driving car fleet is Phoenix, Arizona, Google announced on Thursday.
The tech giant's self-driving cars will tackle extreme desert temperatures and dust in this new location.
Google has deployed several self-driving Lexus RX 450h SUVs around the metro Phoenix area to create a detailed map of streets, lane markers, traffic signals and curb heights.
Other test locations include Mountain View, California and Austin, Texas. In February, Google added Kirkland, Washington as a testing site to see how its self-driving cars would handle rainy conditions.
In Google's March self-driving car report, it provided a detailed look at how it maps out test areas.
"Before we drive in a new city or a new part of town, we build a detailed picture of what's around us using the sensors on our self-driving car," the report said. "As we drive around town, our lasers send out pulses of light that help us paint a three-dimensional portrait of the world.
"We're able to tell the distance and dimensions of road features based on the amount of time it takes for the laser beam to bounce back to our sensors. Our mapping team then turns this into useful information for our cars by categorizing interesting features on the road, such as driveways, fire hydrants and intersections."
Google reported one minor accident last month.
A Google Lexus-model self-driving car in Austin in autonomous mode was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.
Edmunds says: Google is rapidly expanding its self-driving car proving-ground locations as it races to get these vehicles into the hands of consumers.