The self-driving car has a long way to proliferation, and new obstacles have a way of consistently cropping up. The latest? None other than the sun itself.
Bloomberg reported last Friday that solar storms could be a real challenge for self-driving cars if they rely too heavily on GPS. The increased solar activity could cut the data connection between the car and the satellites that provide the much-needed data for an autonomous vehicle to navigate. Per the report, we could see hundreds of self-driving cars simply pull over and await reconnection in the vent of a flare-up.
Engineers have already begun to take the sun into account. The latest self-driving cars don’t rely solely on GPS to maneuver their way around. Constantly updated HD maps, LiDar and GPS all work to help the car navigate on its own accord. And, as mentioned, enough redundancies are baked into the car to pull the vehicle over if a solar storm was ready to cause some ruckus.
Perhaps thankfully, scientists believe the sun will be less prone to outbursts in the coming years. The solar storms reportedly follow an 11-year cycle, which peaked in 2014. It should give self-driving cars breathing room from any sun-induced issues.
Now, we need self-driving cars to operate in the rain and snow.