Google Hiring Driverless Car Testers In Arizona - InformationWeek
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Google Hiring Driverless Car Testers In Arizona

Google is seeking drivers to test its driverless cars in Arizona. If you meet the requirements, you can earn $20 per hour to sit behind the wheel.

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If you live in or near Phoenix, you could be a candidate to test one of Google's self-driving cars. The tech giant is seeking professional, careful "drivers" to operate its vehicles and provide feedback.

The "vehicle safety specialists," as they are referred to in Google's call for resumes, will be responsible for operating a driverless for six to eight hours per day, five days per week. During that time, drivers will gather data in autonomous Lexus SUVs as they "drive" through the tech hub of Chandler, Ariz., reported The Arizona Republic.

Test drivers will give engineers written and verbal comments on how the car drives and reacts to other vehicles on the road. More importantly, they'll be available to take control of the car should the situation arise, because the cars are not yet ready to fully operate without assistance.

[Google's Gboard brings built-in search to the iOS keyboard.]

While this is a job many people may volunteer to do for free, Google is paying its test drivers $20 per hour for their work. Workers will be employed for contracts of 12 to 24 months.

Unfortunately, the job isn't open to everyone. Google requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree, a clean driving history, and no criminal background. They must also be able to type at least 40 words per minute to complete daily reports and document procedures and tests.

The company also notes applicants must pass a number of training checkpoints both inside and outside the vehicle. All details of the project are expected to be kept under wraps.

So long as you're a good driver and pay attention to the road, Google isn't picky about the type of education or professional background you have.

"The role of test driver is so new that there isn't a particular type of person that we look for," said Brian Torcellini, head of operations for Google's self-driving car testing program, to The Republic. "We've hired people from all types of backgrounds, from English teachers to orbital welders."

Torcellini notes local drivers are preferred for this type of project because they are more familiar with the roads and driving norms. If drivers know the streets, for example, they can pay more attention to how the car is working and less to directions.

There are 34 prototype versions of Google's self-driving vehicles and 23 converted Lexus SUVs driving the streets of Mountain View, Calif.; Kirkland, Wash.; and Austin, Texas, reported The Republic. Combined, they have driven nearly 1.6 million miles in driverless mode.

Google's most recent call for testers comes after a rocky start to 2016. In January, the company filed a report documenting several instances of disengagements from the car's autonomous mode. All took place while cars were being tested on California's public streets.

(Image: Google)

(Image: Google)

Despite some setbacks, automakers are pushing forward to put autonomous cars on the road. In April, tech and auto companies including Google, Ford, Volvo Cars, Uber, and Lyft announced the creation of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.

Their goal: to speed up the process of creating federal regulations around society's transition to autonomous cars. The coalition plans to work with businesses, civic groups, and government agencies to encourage the federal government to permit driverless cars on the roads.

While some autonomous vehicle projects have impressed experts, other professionals are skeptical of the future of driverless cars.

Missy Cummings, director of Duke University's robotics program, told the Senate Commerce Committee in March that she believes autonomous cars are "absolutely not" ready to drive on the road in large numbers, citing to their inability to handle poor weather and other issues.

Could Google's extensive testing make self-driving cars roadworthy? If you're in the Phoenix area, you could help answer that question.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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webbrowan
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webbrowan,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/31/2017 | 11:18:29 PM
Re: What happens if...?
It does sound too good to be true. There are pros and cons that the tester would have to go through behind the driverless car. Since it is system-controlled, the tester would have no control whatsoever even during an emergency situation. There have been instances in which a driverless car lost control upon hitting a barrier meant to block out road works. So, the tester would have to agree to sit through that.
webbrowan
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webbrowan,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/22/2016 | 5:44:45 AM
Re: What happens if...?
The offer might seem attractive with a certain financial amount as a reward. However, the deal comes with a catch. Since the car has not been tested, there is a level of safety risks to be taken into consideration by the test driver before obtaining that monetary reward.
Shed_Dweller
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Shed_Dweller,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/26/2016 | 2:23:47 AM
Re: What happens if...?
Adds a fun new way to pick up the mother-in-law from the airport...
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
5/23/2016 | 11:07:47 PM
Re: New NEW Drivers
There were getting into the insurance space --- as a marketplace/agent. They may look to get into it as an underwriter. That would be very interesting and solve some of their problems, but they would enter a whole regulatory world --- at least in the US --- that is very complicated and driven state and state, so to speak.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
5/23/2016 | 9:58:41 AM
Re: New NEW Drivers
@broadway -- very interesting point.

Maybe down the road Alphabet has to get into the car  insurance business -- or buy a company that already is in the business -- as a way to launch their vehicles -- if existing insurance companies are too slow to keep up with technology
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
5/22/2016 | 10:28:27 PM
Re: New NEW Drivers
There's a good chance that Google is self-insuring this experiment --- meaning they've got their own money in the bank in case something happens. Still, they have some commercial insurance company or three presumably on the hook if something really bad happens --- god forbid, accidents that cause loss of life. I'd love to know what those insurance companies think of this experiment.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
5/21/2016 | 11:13:11 AM
Re: What happens if...?
From The Guardian newspaper –

>> Google has patented a new "sticky" technology to protect pedestrians if – or when – they get struck by the company's self-driving cars

The patent, which was granted on 17 May, is for a sticky adhesive layer on the front end of a vehicle, which would aim to reduce the damage caused when a pedestrian hit by a car is flung into other vehicles or scenery.

"Ideally, the adhesive coating on the front portion of the vehicle may be activated on contact and will be able to adhere to the pedestrian nearly instantaneously," according to the patent description.

 "This instantaneous or nearly-instantaneous action may help to constrain the movement of the pedestrian, who may be carried on the front end of the vehicle until the driver of the vehicle (or the vehicle itself in the case of an autonomous vehicle) reacts to the incident and applies the brakes."

 "As such," it continues, "both the vehicle and pedestrian may come to a more gradual stop than if the pedestrian bounces off the vehicle."
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
5/21/2016 | 8:47:08 AM
Re: New NEW Drivers
I interesting question re insurance actuarial issues. So no teenagers or seniors, two groups with poor driving records? The role of insurance companies in all of this has yet to be fully revealed. The companies are very conservative and hardly open to innovation.
Broadway0474
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0%
Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
5/20/2016 | 10:47:34 PM
Re: New NEW Drivers
$20 per hour is certainly good pay for this assignment. It seems like the perfect job for an underemployed recent college grad, although I wonder if Google will be taking auto insurer actuarial approach to drivers and sticking with age groups and genders that are typically safer than others?
jastroff
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50%
jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
5/20/2016 | 7:02:32 PM
Re: What happens if...?
Yep. It's called the Sticky Car Patent. For real
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
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