When regulating self-driving cars, who’s at the wheel?

-GOVERNING, 1 MARCH 2016, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

The storm that rolled through Ann Arbor, Mich., in late November brought nine inches of snow and an experimental opportunity too good to pass up. A team of Ford engineers working to develop self-driving vehicles decided it would be a good time to put their modified Ford Fusion sedans to the test.

Snow, like rain, can be especially tricky for automated vehicles. Precipitation makes it harder for driverless cars to know where they are. Their cameras can’t see lines on snow-covered pavement or in the reflections of puddles. Falling precipitation interferes with radar. Piles of snow make finding the curbs and road edges harder, even for the cars’ laser-powered mapping devices. On top of that, snow is something of a novelty for self-driving cars. Most of them have been confined to sunny locales in states like California, Nevada and Texas, where rain and snow are rarer. <Read More>