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Google's self-driving cars are learning to deal with bad weather

Google's self-driving cars are learning to deal with bad weather


Look at these adorable tiny windshield wipers

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Google has some adorable ways of weather-proofing its driverless cars. According to the company's latest monthly report on its self-driving car program, tiny windshield wipers were built to help the rooftop sensors better navigate inclement weather.

Google says the latest version of its LiDAR sensors (light and radar) are able to detect rain, as well as clouds of exhaust on cold mornings. Like human drivers, the company's self-driving prototypes, which are currently logging miles in Mountain View and Austin, can tell the difference between a drizzle and a downpour, and can adjust their speed and technique accordingly.


"For now, if it's particularly stormy, our cars automatically pull over and wait until conditions improve (and of course, our test drivers are always available to take over)," the report reads. "To explore even more challenging environments, we're beginning to collect data in all sorts of rainy and snowy conditions as we work toward the goal of a self-driving car that will be able to drive come rain, hail, snow or shine!"

To date, Google's 53 autonomous vehicles have logged 1,372,111 miles driven without human involvement. The company says it's currently averaging 10,000-15,000 miles driven on public streets per week.

There were no accidents involving Google's self-driving cars in December, the company says. Previous months have been marked by minor fender-benders, which the company says were all caused by human drivers.