A Russian self driving car took on icy roads during recent snowstorm to gather data to help autonomous vehicles travel in wintery conditions. Getty Images photo by Mikhail Svetlov.
Russian self driving car test part of process to gather data to help system adjust to snowy conditions
Yandex NV, Russia’s largest internet company, is taking its version of a self driving car to wintery Moscow streets in an effort to develop its system which will allow autonomous vehicles to travel in less-than-perfect conditions.
According to the company’s blog post on Friday, Yandex.Taxi’s autonomous Toyota Prius travelled several kilometres though central Moscow in -6° temperatures with light rain falling on public roads.
“The Yandex.Taxi autonomous car safely navigated the streets of Moscow after a recent snowstorm managing interactions with traffic, pedestrians, parked vehicles and other road hazards on snowy and icy streets,” according to the Yandex blog.
The company hopes to achieve true autonomy with its vehicles, which means there will be no steering wheel, brake pedal or human skill required to pilot the car.
The Yandex self driving car uses cameras and Lidar, the sensing method that uses laser pulses to measure distances. The car also uses GPS, online maps and computer-vision technology.
Driving in winter can mean snow shrouded cameras and covered lane lines which the autonomous car needs to detect to remain on course. As well, the Lidar system could be affected because the light pulses could reflect off snowflakes. Lidar could potentially confuse snowfall with something it thinks it needs to avoid, which would cause the car to brake.
Yandex says it is working on a closed course near Moscow to develop algorithms that manage the car’s movements that adapt to winter conditions.
The company says it has been collecting significant amounts of data, including images of both the snowy roads and street signs and expects to build its system to adjust its driving pattern on winter roads.
“Moscow offers our team a great testing ground for our self-driving car, challenging it with both high traffic volumes and diverse weather and seasonal changes.”
The company says its goal is to “expand our capabilities to create a universally applicable technology that manages all road challenges and weather conditions.”
Be the first to comment