Ford is testing autonomous cars in the snow

Less white knuckle driving in the white stuff.

If you've ever driven in the snow you know how difficult and dangerous it can be. Which makes Ford's announcement that it's testing fully autonomous cars in this less-than-optimal environment better suited for skiing pretty exciting. The test vehicles use LiDAR and high-resolution 3D mapping to keep to stay on the road when the cameras and other sensors are made useless by the reduced visibility of snow flurries.

The tests will take place in Michigan's Mcity testing facility. The 3D maps used to keep the cars on the road will be created during dry weather in partnership with the University of Michigan's college of engineering.

While reduced visibility due to rain and snow has been a huge hurdle for autonomous driving systems, these environments are when robot drivers could make the biggest difference in terms of safety. Working in conjunction with the vehicle's traction control, drivetrain and braking system, a car that can get through a blizzard, without sliding off the road, would be a welcome addition to anywhere that enjoys winter wonderlands.