Waymo, formerly the Google self-driving car project, announced it will test vehicles in rainy Florida:
"... we’re bringing both Waymo vehicles — including our Chrysler Pacificas and a Jaguar I-Pace — to the state to begin heavy rain testing. During the summer months of Hurricane Season, Miami is one of the wettest cities in the U.S., averaging an annual 61.9 inches of rain and experiencing some of the most intense weather conditions in the country. Heavy rain can create a lot of noise for our sensors. Wet roads also may result in other road users behaving differently. Testing allows us to understand the unique driving conditions, and get a better handle on how rain affects our own vehicle movements, too."
"First, we’re spending several weeks driving on a closed course in Naples where we will rigorously test our sensor suite — which includes lidar, cameras, and radar — during the rainiest season in the south. Later in the month, we’ll bring our vehicles to public roads in Miami. They’ll be manually operated by our trained test drivers which will give us the opportunity to collect data of real-world driving situations in heavy rain. Additionally, Florida residents will start seeing a few of our vehicles on highways between Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers and Miami as we learn about Florida roads."
Prior test locations included: a) Novi, Michigan; b) Kirkland, Washington; c) San Francisco, California; and 4) Phoenix, Arizona.
In related news, Waymo announced the availability of an expanded dataset for academic researchers. TechCrunch reported:
"Waymo is opening up its significant stores of autonomous driving data with a new Open Data Set it’s making available for the purposes of research. The data set isn’t for commercial use, but its definition of “research” is fairly broad, and includes researchers at other companies as well as academics... The Waymo Open Data set tries to fill in some of these gaps for their research peers by providing data collected from 1,000 driving segments done by its autonomous vehicles on roads, with each segment representing 20 seconds of continuous driving. It includes a range of different driving conditions, including at night, during rain, at dusk and more. The segments include data collected from five of Waymo’s own proprietary lidars, as well as five standard cameras that face front and to the sides, providing a 360-degree view captured in high resolution, as well as synchronization Waymo uses to fuse lidar and imaging data. Objects, including vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and signage is all labeled."