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  • Writer's pictureRicha Shetty

Is weather a Problem for Autonomous Vehicles?

The machines are taking over. Like it or not, self-driving cars are on their way to our roads. Recently, the development of autonomous vehicles and intelligent driver assistance systems has drawn a significant amount of attention from the general public. The real challenge is making the car navigate through suddenly-changing road and weather conditions, particularly in situations with heavy snowfall, fog, or rain. where self-driving car sensors and cameras can’t visualize the street’s markers and lane dividers. Rain, sleet, snow, and fog are challenging enough for human drivers, but adverse weather conditions pose an extra level of difficulty for those developing self-driving cars.

Is weather a Problem for Autonomous Vehicles

These vehicles depend on cameras and sensors to ‘see’ the road and make the correct decisions at rapid speeds. That’s why automakers are trying to create systems capable of collecting all the necessary data to operate autonomous vehicles safely in bad weather.

As of today, automaker Ford and tech giant Google are working to overcome some of the current limitations of self-driving cars when they encounter snow, rain, or other severe weather conditions. Like human drivers, autonomous vehicles sometimes have trouble “seeing” in some low-visibility situations and adapting quickly to the loss of traction.


Top Challenges for Autonomous Cars:

Autonomous cars are faced with many challenges when it comes to navigating rainy conditions.

  1. Hydroplaning

  2. Sensors (Radar and LIDAR)

  3. Cameras

  4. Water Buildup

  5. Slippery Road Conditions

1. Hydroplaning

The vehicle needs to make a quick judgment call on the right course of action, along with having spatial awareness before it attempts to gain or regain control.


2. Radar and LIDAR

The autonomous cars now in development use a variety of sensors to read the world around them. Radar and LIDAR do most of the work looking for other cars, pedestrians, and other obstacles.


3. Cameras

Typically read street signs and lane markers. However, an even bigger problem that comes with winter: If snow is covering a sign or lane marker, there’s no way for the car to see it. Know What exactly is a Dash Cam? How does it work for your car?


4. Slippery Road Conditions

The vehicle needs to adjust its “driving” capabilities according to the slippery conditions. More caution needs to be taken, including leaving ample room between vehicles, accelerating, and braking.


5. Water Buildup

The vehicle needs to sense the puddle ahead, or better yet, gauge how deep it is before driving by, or around it. Alternatively, during rainy conditions, it also needs to consider the best route to reach its destination.



Conclusion

In order to introduce automated vehicles into the marketplace, successful driving evaluations of various types of traffic conditions are indispensable. Developing decision-making systems by taking into account different traffic conditions such as road structures, traffic density, and traffic rules, equipped with many sensors. With an increase in demand for autonomous cars equipped to drive in harsher weather conditions, businesses are seeking out solutions to bridge the gap.


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