Waymo Heads to Michigan to Test Self-Driving Cars in the Cold

An example of Michigans winter weather
An example of Michigan's winter weather | © Pixabay

Self-driving cars still have a long way to go before the general public can buy and use them. But the obstacles are being addressed one by one, and the latest challenge Google spin-off Waymo is taking on is driving in cold weather.

Although Waymo has been testing its cars in cold weather conditions since 2012, now it will be spending the winter in Michigan to get more practice driving in snow, sleet, and ice.

As anyone who’s driven in cold weather conditions will know, it can be a struggle, so there’s presumably a lot of testing to come before machines are trusted to drive us around in perilous conditions.

“This type of testing will give us the opportunity to assess the way our sensors perform in wet, cold conditions. And it will also build on the advanced driving skills we’ve developed over the last eight years by teaching our cars how to handle things like skidding on icy, unplowed roads,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik wrote in a Medium post.

One of the major challenges for wintry weather is how it affects sensors. Lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging, technology bounces laser beams off the nearest objects to build a picture of the world around it. When there’s bad weather conditions, those lasers are negatively affected.

Michigan is a popular destination for self-driving car tests. GM launched a program there last year in which it used public roads to test the Chevy Bolt. In 2015, MCity, a facility built especially for testing self-driving cars was opened by the University of Michigan. Ford is also working in Michigan with Domino’s to deliver pizzas.

Michigan state also passed laws in 2016 to encourage companies to test out their driverless technology there.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article