OREANDA-NEWS. April 11, 2016. Company announced via Google+ that its Lexus RX450h SUVs have started driving around the Arizona capital. The goal at this point is for Google's test drivers to generate a map of the streets, lane markers, traffic lights and curbs in and around Phoenix, according to the company. That information will then be fed into the technology embedded in the autonomous cars so they know how to navigate the city on their own.

Proving that self-driving vehicles can share the roads with human drivers is a challenge for Google and other companies testing the technology. With tech firms and automakers racing to hit the roads with self-driving cars in the next several years, showing that these vehicles can handle diverse conditions in a variety of cities is critical to widespread adoption.

"The Phoenix area has distinct desert conditions, which will help us better understand how our sensors and cars handle extreme temperatures and dust in the air," Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google Self-Driving Car project, said in a statement. "Driving in new cities enables our engineers to further refine our software and adapt to these different environments."