Google Self-Driving Cars Will Hit the Road in Arizona to Test in Heat, Dust

PHOTO: Googles self-driving cars are coming to Arizona.PlayGoogle
WATCH Test-Driving Google's Self-Driving Car

Google's self-driving cars will be put to the test in Phoenix, Arizona -- a place singled out for its extreme heat and dusty desert air.

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"The Phoenix area has distinct desert conditions, which will help us better understand how our sensors and cars handle extreme temperatures and dust in the air," Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google Self-Driving Car project, said in a statement. "Driving in new cities enables our engineers to further refine our software and adapt to these different environments.”

Haroon said over the past few days, Google's test drivers have taken four Lexus RX450h SUVs around the Phoenix area to create a detailed map of the streets, including information such as lane markers, traffic signals, curb heights and other information to help the autonomous vehicles navigate the area.

The cars will soon be driving the roads in Arizona, with a human driver on board and ready to take over if anything should go wrong, she said.

Phoenix is the third test location outside of Google's Mountain View, California, headquarters where the autonomous vehicles are being put to the test in a variety of different travel conditions. Google also tests in Austin, Texas, and Kirkland, Washington, which was added earlier this year for its rainy weather and hills.