Driverless Ford cars tested in snow have been successful

New driverless Ford cars have successfully been tested in the snow and this could see the models take a step closer to hitting roads across the globe.

The cars, which could be available in used car dealerships in Dorchester and the rest of the UK sooner rather than later, have been tested in snowy conditions for more than a year as snow is the major challenge for driverless cars to get over. This is due to the sensors that are used to detect road markings and hazards finding it more difficult in snow than any other weather condition.

Ford’s driverless cars use Light Detection and Ranging sensors, or Lidar sensors. They fire lasers away from the car and measure the light that is reflected back to help detail what is around the car. The car also has on-board cameras, but both can be affected by snow.

However, Ford recently revealed that by programming the Lidar sensors to see landmarks like buildings and road signs, and comparing this with a map of the road that is already stored in the car’s computer, the driverless car was able to drive safely in snow.

Ford’s driverless car to be tested further

The autonomous cars, according to Detroit News, were tested in a 32-acre course in the US and now the results were a success the next step is for the cars to be programmed so that when conditions are too dangerous to drive the car will realise this and stop driving.

Speaking in an article on the BBC website, Greg Stevens, who leads driver assistance research at Ford, said, “We're used to the conditions changing very rapidly. As humans, we understand that can happen and we know how to deal with it.

“We need to make sure that our autonomous vehicles can also deal with those situations in the same way.”

The Ford Fusion Hybrid cars will continue to be tested and the fleet will be tripled to nearer 30 vehicles this year.

To see the Ford car that could in the future be on sale at Ford car dealers in Somerset and the rest of Britain, check out the below video.

Image Credit: Petr Magera (flickr.com)

This content was written by James Dart. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.