Since 2009 Google has logged more than 2 million self-driving miles with their test vehicles. In fact, last week they spun this project out to a new business. Waymo is the new company, but it still faces the same major hurdle – inclement weather. Most of the test miles have been logged in locations where snow and cold were not a factor.
Last January, Ford successfully tested one of its self-driving cars in the snow for the first time.
“It’s one thing for a car to drive itself in perfect weather, it’s quite another to do so when the car’s sensors can’t see the road because it’s covered in snow,” Jim McBride, Ford technical leader for autonomous vehicles, said at the time.
The test occurred at one of their private facilities, not a public highway. It’s not just about the total number of miles it is now important to characterize the conditions under which the tests were conducted.
There is still a long way to go before we have a fully self-driving vehicle that can operate under all conditions.