Self-driving in snow: Waymo to start tests in Michigan

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 8: John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, debuts a customized Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid that will be used for Google's autonomous vehicle program at the 2017 North American International Auto Show on January 8, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 5000 journalists from around the world and nearly 800,000 people are expected to attend the NAIAS between January 8th and January 22nd to see the more than 750 vehicles and numerous interactive displays. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

DETROIT (AP) — Waymo’s autonomous vehicles are heading to Michigan for some cold-weather testing.

The Google spinoff, which is now owned by Alphabet Inc., says it will start testing next week on public roads in suburban Detroit. The company uses Chrysler Pacifica minivans equipped with cameras, sensors and self-driving software. Backup drivers will be at the wheel for safety reasons.

Waymo has been testing in cold weather for about five years, and has tested its vehicles in the snowy mountains near Lake Tahoe. The company says the Michigan tests will build on that experience. Waymo also is testing vehicles in Arizona, California, Texas and other states.

Waymo has had a research center in Michigan since 2016, but this is the first time it will be testing in the state.

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