Waymo announced plans to expand their winter testing on autonomous vehicles in Michigan to address snowy and icy conditions. Michigan would be the 6th state where these cars will be tested to see how it would respond to snow, ice, and sleet where a backup safety driver would sit in the driver seat. Other states that the company set foot in include California, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, and Washington State.
"Our ultimate goal is for our fully self-driving cars to operate safely and smoothly in all kinds of environments," Waymo CEO John Krafcik writes.
Since 2012, Waymo has conducted cold weather testing around Nevada and California border of Lake Tahoe. However, the Metro Detroit is a highly dangerous area for commuters navigating through snow and icy roads. Last May, the company opened a development center in Nov, Michigan and started working with Fiat Chrysler to include self-driving technology into the Pacifica Hybrid minivans. Since then, Waymo has been mapping areas in that city to assess how sensors on the autonomous cars can perform during wet and cold conditions.
"This type of testing will give us the opportunity to assess the way our sensors perform in wet, cold conditions," Krafick writes. "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."