If you’re looking for a job and you live around Phoenix, Arizona, your ship may have just come in. Or rather, your driverless car. Google is hiring $20-per-hour “vehicle safety specialists” for its self-driving car testing in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, as reported in The Arizona Republic.
According to the job listing, the job with Alphabet Inc., which owns Google, requires a Bachelor’s degree, clean criminal and driving records, and the ability to type at least 40 words per minute. The jobs will call for six to eight hour days, five days a week, under 12- to 24-month contracts.
Testers will work in teams of two per vehicle, one behind the wheel to take over if necessary. The other tester will sit in the passenger seat with a laptop documenting the testing and submitting reports. The “passenger” needs to focus constantly on a range of software systems and give Google engineers concise written and oral feedback.
Google’s Self-Driving Car testing program head of operations Brian Torcellini said, “Test drivers play an important role in developing our self-driving technology. They give our engineers feedback about how our cars are driving and interacting with others on the road, and can take control of the vehicle if needed.”
While the overall purpose of the positions, besides preventing the cars from causing any harm, is to collect data for the engineering teams, it’s easy to see that this job could become the beginning of a career path. Autonomous car development is ongoing around the world, but on-road testing and documentation, using technology and reporting tools and systems that both are bound to grow in sophistication over time, could quickly fill a resume. It’s important to note, however, that specific details must be kept confidential.
Occasional travel for up to a month at a time may be required for Google self-driving car vehicle safety specialists, so if you’re not tied down, that could work in your favor as well. “The role of test driver is so new that there isn’t a particular type of person that we look for,” Torcellini said. “We’ve hired people from all types of backgrounds, from English teachers to orbital welders. In general, they need to be excellent drivers who pay really close attention to the road and can predict the social aspects of driving. Local drivers will be great for testing in the Phoenix area because they know the roads and local driving norms better.”