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Snow and Ice Pose a Vexing Obstacle for Self-Driving Cars


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The New York Times
SOURCE: https://www.wired.com/story/snow-ice-pose-vexing-obstacle-self-driving-cars/
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Summary

That will have to change before the technology will be useful everywhere.In late 2018, Krzysztof Czarnecki, a professor at Canada’s University of Waterloo, built a self-driving car and trained it to navigate surrounding neighborhoods with an annotated driving data set from researchers in Germany.The vehicle worked well enough to begin with, recognizing Canadian cars and pedestrians just as well as German ones. “It’s in the interest of everyone to think about this,” Czarnecki says.The Canadian driving data set includes lane markings and vehicles that are covered with snow.A few companies, including Alphabet’s Waymo and Argo, backed by Ford and Volkswagen, are testing self-driving cars in winter conditions. But the warm-weather bias could limit where autonomous vehicles can be deployed, or cause problems if it is rolled out in colder climates too quickly.“It’s a very noticeable blind spot,” says Alexandr Wang, CEO of Scale AI, which annotated Czarnecki’s data and works with other autonomous-driving companies.

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