Intel Corp.’s Mobileye said Tuesday it was testing self-driving vehicles in New York City, including the bustling Manhattan borough, in an effort to prove its technology can handle jaywalkers, construction zones and even horse carriages.
Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua said at a news briefing the company has begun testing camera-only vehicles in the city in the past weeks, calling the driving environment “very challenging.”
“It’s really a huge headache to test here in New York City,” Shashua said, listing a range of driving challenges in the Big Apple, including light pollution at night, aggressive driving, double-parked cars and pedestrians ignoring traffic rules.
Shashua said the ability to navigate NYC streets was a crucial step towards commercializing autonomous vehicles that can handle a range of driving environments.
Mobileye had received a testing permit by New York state after supplying officials with all the data from self-driving programs the company has previously launched in other cities, Shashua said.
General Motor’s self-driving unit Cruise in 2017 received a similar permit, but ultimately abandoned its plans to test vehicles in NYC after Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed concerns over safety.
The mayor’s office and the city’s transportation department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.