Autonomous vehicle trainer Alex Kexel (right) and operations team lead Roy Ysmael (second from left) prepare cars for test drives at Cruise Automation in March.
The law that allows testing of self-driving cars in NY lapses on April 1st, 2018 so these tests have to been conducted by then. We have a streetscape that is unrivaled in its scale and complexity, and so it's fitting that General Motos and Cruise Automation are finally bringing this technology here for testing and development.
As in the other test areas, the Cruise vehicles will have a human safety driver.
Industry experts predict one-quarter of the miles driven in the U.S.by the year 2030 will be in shared self-driving vehicles.
NY has some strict rules for self-driving cars which is why companies haven't been rushing there to test their technology.
"The spirit of innovation is what defines NY, and we are positioned on the forefront of this emerging industry that has the potential to be the next great technological advance that moves our economy and moves us forward", he said in a statement.
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Cruise plans to base a team of employees in NY to support this new effort.
"Testing in the hardest places first means we'll get to scale faster than starting with the easier ones", Vogt wrote.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office sent out a press release confirming this agreement with Cruise Automation. "The companies, they're making the money. Any new technology, no matter how innovative, needs to be tested and evaluated appropriately and the State Police will perform its due diligence to oversee this process and ensure its effectiveness". Forty-two companies were authorized to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in California as of September.
Manhattan is easier for autonomous vehicles to navigate than Boston or Los Angeles because it's laid out in a grid and cars generally go at low speeds, said Art Wheaton, an auto industry expert and director of Western New York Labor and Environmental Programs for the Worker Institute at Cornell University.
"If you can handle the pedestrian and bicycle and vehicle traffic in an area as congested as New York City, that's a pretty big test", Wheaton said.