ARIZONA NEWS

Gov. Doug Ducey takes a spin in Google self-driving car in Phoenix

Dec 15, 2016, 4:17 PM

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey took a ride in a Google self-driving car on Thursday morning and he seemed rather pleased with the process.

“Just an incredible ride,” he said. “I felt unbelievably safe and it was silky smooth.”

The cars, which began test drives in the Valley in April, are now under the Waymo brand name, though the cars still use Google technology.

Ducey said he could see the street unfolding before the vehicle. He could also see the car sensing pedestrians, stop lights and other traffic information.

“I know they still have work to do but it seems like they’re a lot closer than people thought,” he said.

Waymo said the driverless vehicles are safer than ones driven by people. They also help disabled people to drive and get places faster and more safely.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik said at a press conference Tuesday that, in a trip taken in October 2015 , a pod-like car with no steering wheel and brake pads drove a legally blind passenger around neighborhoods in Austin, Texas without another human in the vehicle.

It marked the first time one of the project’s cars had given a passenger a ride without a human on hand to take control of a self-driving car if something went wrong.

However, the cars have been involved in at least three fender-benders in the Phoenix area since the testing phase began. No injuries were reported at the scene in any of the crashes.

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Gov. Doug Ducey takes a spin in Google self-driving car in Phoenix