Ford tests autonomic cars in the snow

Ford is one of several automotive concerns that work on autonomous vehicle technology. However, before these vehicles hit the showrooms, they must do the same in all driving conditions. So the American company started testing its snow-covered prototype based on the Fusion model.

Autonomous vehicles are likely to be the future of motoring, but before they start caring for us, it will take a few years of research and technological development to address the safety of passengers. Computer control systems for the operation of these vehicles have to deal with all road conditions. Meanwhile, companies working on self-driving cars, including Google, have not yet been tested to test them in winter when roads are covered with thick snow.

The first step in this direction was made by Ford, who has just started testing his own prototype in the snow. Jim McBride, the company’s chief technology officer, told the media that about 70% of US residents live in areas where winter roads are covered with snow. The tests will show how autonomous vehicles can cope in such unusual conditions.

Driving in snow is much more difficult as vehicles are not able to track horizontal lines, and traffic signs are often obscured by white fluff. The test model, therefore, uses LiDAR and accurate three-dimensional maps created in collaboration with Michigan University engineers to keep the computer geared to the ground and remain on the road even when it is overwhelmed. LiDAR is basically the only system on which the car is subject to such conditions, since the suitability of other systems, ie sensors and cameras, is severely limited by falling snow.

Google will pay 3 billion euros fine?

The end of the European Commission investigation into antitrust violations initiated by Google has been launched a few years ago. The leaks show that the decision on this issue will be announced before the holiday, and the US giant will have to pay about 3 billion euros of fines.

Google has for years been accused of abusing its market position in the online industry and breaking antitrust laws. The company was accused of manipulating search results in its search engine and favoring its products at the expense of competition and many other activities that did not comply with current regulations.

A few years ago the European Commission took up the matter. As a result of the leaks, the committee’s decision, which will be announced before the summer holidays, will impose a € 3 billion fine on the company. This is a much higher amount than imposed on Intel for some time, which had to pay 1.1 billion euros for antitrust infringement. It is, however, significantly lower than the maximum legal fine of € 6.6 billion, or 10 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

However, this may not stop. Margarethe Vestager, Competition contends that the list of charges against Google may be extended to mapping services and information search for travel agencies, as allegedly also in those areas the company was to commit fraudulent practices.

The commission’s decision will be announced early next month.

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