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Can An Autonomous Ford Fusion Drive In Winter?

One of the biggest questions for driverless cars like the Ford Fusion is...

How can it handle snow and bad weather? As snow-ridden as Canada is for half the year, it's one of the biggest concerns Canadians (and especially Edmontonians!) have with this new technology. And so, Ford sent in its team of engineers and the autonomous Ford Fusion to figure exactly how to handle it. Off the top, Ford creates high-resolution 3D maps using LiDAR technology to scan area the area its autonomous vehicle will later drive in the snow. More:

By driving the test route in ideal weather, the Ford autonomous vehicle creates highly accurate digital models of the road and surrounding infrastructure using four LiDAR scanners that generate a total of 2.8 million laser points a second. The resulting map then serves as a baseline that’s used to identify the car’s position when driving in autonomous mode. Using the LiDAR sensors to scan the environment in real time, the car can locate itself within the mapped area later, when the road is covered in snow.

- Ford Press Release
Using its super smart sensors, the car collects up to 600 gigabytes of data per hour, and can even track individual snowflakes and rain drops. Eventually, it's hoped that the cars will be able to handle ice and grime build-up through self-cleaning or defogging measures. Ford is still extensively testing the driverless Ford Fusion and its technology, but the fact that successful tests are occurring in wicked winter storms means only one thing for the future - Bring it on Edmonton winters!

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