A smart car supposed to be smart. Being smart and adaptable in many weather is what Ford’s up to. This winter, Ford begins its testing in winter weather. They want to see its self driving smart car to cope in conditions such as sleet and snow.
The tests involve seeing how LIDAR systems, which are able to detect and place the smart car within its environment, fare in inclement weather conditions. LIDAR typically uses a number of cameras to constantly take photo or video representations of the car’s surroundings to ensure the vehicle isn’t steering off the road or into obstacles, which are greatly hampered by snow or fog.
Ford is now looking to use LIDAR to detect landmarks above the road surface, which will then work with stored high-resolution maps of the route in order to help the vehicle to drive.
The company announced that they will be adding 20 Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicles to bring its number to about 30 vehicles – the largest of any major manufacturer in the world. They hope the second-generation vehicle fleet will test many of the computing and sensor components required to achieve the next level of autonomous driving capability, which would not require the driver to intervene and take control of the vehicle at any point.
Ford also made an partnership with Google to develop self-driving vehicles and create smart cars within the next few years.