Just shy of two months after Uber’s autonomous cars were banned in California, the company is rolling out its second round of experimental autonomous vehicles on the roadways of Arizona. Uber’s most-recent experiment is happening on the streets of Tempe Arizona, where locals have the option to ride in one of the company’s self-driving Volvo XC90s – along with two Uber engineers in the front seats for safety purposes. Uber’s operation on the streets of San Francisco lasted only a week due to a dispute over regulations, but the company could benefit from less restrictive regulations in the Grand Canyon State.
Uber and California went their separate ways because the state’s DMV threatened legal action for the improper licensing of test vehicles. When Uber refused to apply for the necessary permits, the state just up and revoked their license.
It didn’t take the company long to hit the road in Arizona, where Governor Doug Ducey put out a big welcome mat for them in the form of an executive order. Signed in August, 2015, the order directed several government agencies to “undertake any necessary steps to support the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles on public roads in the state. According to The Verge, he also “empowered” universities to launch pilot programs for self-driving cars.
After nearly a year of rumors that the company was planning to experiment with autonomous cars, Uber confirmed suspicions when it announced and began testing the vehicles on the streets of Pittsburgh in September 2016.
Pricing for the Arizona pilot project remains the same as UberX service in other cities, and the Volvos can carry up to three passengers along with the “safety drivers.” Riders will have the option to cancel their request if they feel nervous when a self-driving car shows up, allowing them to opt for a human-piloted vehicle instead.