That’s why Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car spinoff, announced this week that it will begin testing its robocars in Michigan, along with suburban California, Austin, Texas, and Arizona…
“If a laser beam hits a drop of water on the outside of the scanner, the lidar can think it’s an object right in front of the vehicle and slam on the brakes,” says Raj Rajkumar, who studies autonomous driving at Carnegie Mellon University. And you’ve seen how camera footage looks in the rain. Poor weather helps blind these sensors, too.
Now, this doesn’t mean autonomous vehicles will be helpless in bad weather forever. It does mean that they have to be trained on data collected in adverse conditions, though.