This Is How You Want Your Self-Driving Car To Behave In The Rain

The most vexing point when it comes to autonomous vehicle technology is how it’ll perform in the rain or the snow, which serve as one of the environmental scenarios that can stymie how a robot car performs. That’s why a new video from AV system startup Drive.ai stands out as exceptionally notable.

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The nearly four-minute clip is one of the few instances that has captured an self-driving car moving about in inclement weather, without a driver intervening.

“Any successful self-driving technology will need to address countless unpredictable situations and a wide range of driving conditions, yet few are able to today,” Drive.ai, stating the obvious, wrote in a blog post to unveil the video.

Drive.ai said it uses “deep learning technology” to develop its AV system, which it says allows the technology to develop and learn like a human brain would. If a cool-sounding phrase doesn’t rock your boat, the video offers a solid view of a robot car in the rain.

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Drive.ai noted some particular notable points in the video, particularly around the 1 minute mark, when a car pulls out in front of the self-driving car at packed four-way stop. Drive.ai also says at 1:50 the car approaches an intersection with a broken red light, but it’s hard to make out what it’s referencing. The all-around driving at night in the rain itself is impressive, too (though, to be sure, we’re talking about California roads.)

It’s only a flash in the pan, but this seems like a vast improvement from what we’ve seen in the past.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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DISCUSSION

urambotauro
Urambo Tauro

If the rain pictured really is a “heavy downpour”, the I’m afraid the camera just isn’t conveying the severity of the weather very well. The car doesn’t appear to be reaching speeds that would make it struggle for grip in such rain. So that’s not the main takeaway here.

What’s noteworthy is that it’s stopping and going when it should, without being compromised by overly clouded or dirty sensors. The car is also not being confused by wet reflections. Impressive.

I’m also pleased to see the car stopping for the inoperative red light. I’d like to know how the car made that decision. Is it referring to a map? Is it just being cautious, yielding to the traffic that’s in the process of turning across its path?