Waymo heads to Florida for heavy rain testing

Waymo heads to Florida for heavy rain testing

The company is still learning how to deal with fog, rain and snow.

Waymo has expanded its regional testing program, arriving in Florida to gain experience dealing with heavy rain.

The company has focused its first commercial deployment in the Phoenix suburbs. The location typically receives around nine inches of rainfall and just 33 days with any type of precipitation each year, along with a few rare haboobs.

The test fleet is already operating in rainy Kirkland, Washington, with 41 inches of annual rainfall. Waymo apparently wants to ramp up rain testing a bit more in Miami, which is soaked in nearly 62 inches of rain each year.

"Heavy rain can create a lot of noise for our sensors. Wet roads also may result in other road users behaving differently," Waymo says. "Testing allows us to understand the unique driving conditions, and get a better handle on how rain affects our own vehicle movements, too."

The company will be testing both the Chrysler Pacifica and Jaguar I-Pace, presumably to fine-tune the self-driving algorithms for differences between each vehicle when driving on wet roads. The vehicles will initially spend a few weeks on a closed track in Naples, validating sensor operation before the vehicles are operated on public roads.