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Snow in the Age of Self-Driving Vehicles

Michael Williams, Digital Media Intern, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

As thermostats and snow begin to fall, we try to stay off the roads. Though spending time in the comfort of our warm living rooms sounds better, sometimes we have to get in the car to drive to work or pick up some necessities at the grocery store.

But in the age of self-driving vehicles, will anything change? Driving in the snow is a challenge even for the most experienced drivers. Will these advanced systems be able to handle inclement weather?

Ford (a Consumer Technology Association [CTA] member) says yes.

With help from University of Michigan researchers, Ford has created comprehensive 3D maps featuring geographic landmarks and road markings. LiDar sensors will subsequently emit short pulses to pick up on changes in the surrounding environment.

The road doesn’t end here, either.

“We eventually want our autonomous vehicles to detect deteriorating conditions, decide whether it’s safe to keep driving, and if so, for how long,” said Jim McBride, Ford technical leader for autonomous vehicles.

Want more self-driving tech? Check out our highlight video from CES 2017: