July 20 (Reuters) – Intel Corp. (INTC.O) The Mobileye unit said Tuesday it was testing self-driving vehicles in New York City, including the bustling Manhattan neighborhood, to prove that their technology can handle jaywalkers, construction sites and even horse-drawn carriages.
Mobileye chief executive Amnon Shashua said at a press conference that the company had started testing camera-only vehicles in the city in the past few weeks, calling the driving environment “very challenging.”
“It’s a really big headache testing here in New York City,” Shashua said, listing a number of driving challenges in the Big Apple, including night light pollution, aggressive driving, double-parked cars and pedestrians ignoring traffic rules.
Shashua said the ability to navigate the streets of NYC is a critical step in commercializing autonomous vehicles that can handle a range of driving environments.
Mobileye received a test permit from New York State after providing officials with all of the data from self-driving programs the company previously launched in other cities, Shashua said.
General Motors (GM.N) The self-propelled unit Cruise received similar approval in 2017 but eventually abandoned its plans to test vehicles in NYC after Mayor Bill de Blasio raised safety concerns.
The city’s mayor’s office and the city’s traffic office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Reporting by Tina Bellon; Editing by Bernadette Baum
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