Drivers around the country are often tested by challenging driving conditions, ranging from snow and ice to wind and fog.
Now Waymo wants to see how its self-driving cars can perform in heavy rain.
The Alphabet company is bringing some of its fleet to Florida just in time for hurricane season.
The Chrysler Pacifica and Jaguar I-Pace test vehicles will spend several weeks driving on a closed course in Naples.
The vehicles include cameras, radar and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. During those tests, the cars will be manually operated to collect data on driving conditions in heavy rain.
Later in the month, the vehicles will take to public roads in Miami and then on highways between Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers and Miami.
“Heavy rain can create a lot of noise for our sensors,” states a Waymo blog post. “Wet roads also may result in other road users behaving differently. Testing allows us to understand the unique driving conditions and get a better handle on how rain affects our own vehicle movements.”
Although nicknamed “The Sunshine State,” Florida in summer can provide extremely challenging driving through heavy rainstorms for human drivers.
We’ll be very interested to see how well technology can “see” and navigate through that rain.