Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans have been tested extensively in extreme heat since stress testing began around a year ago, the company has revealed.
To be more specific, much of the heat testing has taken place in Death Valley — where temperatures can climb to more than 130° Fahrenheit, roughly hot enough to melt roads.
The testing in Death Valley followed extensive testing in controlled wind tunnels — where high environments could be simulated.
“Waymo tested stop-and-go traffic performance, long ideas, operating on aggressively sloped roads — and even monitoring cabin controls as well as the state of its self-driving software and the exterior of the vehicle using onboard sensors,” Tech Crunch notes.
“The tests paid off, however, with a much-needed confirmation of Waymo’s closed environment testing — its in-house designed sensor hardware, as well as its onboard autonomous driving computers, are road ready for extreme heat. The company now seems confident that even in the highest temps users would be likely to encounter on real roads, with A/C maxed out, their autonomous systems will behave as desired.”
Going by the announcement, it seems clear that Waymo is getting pretty close to having a market-ready product. A commercial launch of the company’s self-driving tech probably isn’t too far off now … presumably before any of the company’s competitors make it to market with a comparable offering.
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