It’s one thing for an autonomous car to strut its stuff on a smooth, warm California tarmac, and quite another to do so on the frozen winter mix of northern Finland.

Martti, a self-driving vehicle system homegrown in Finland, demonstrated just this in a record-setting drive along a treacherous (to normal drivers) Laplandish road.

Martti is one of two cars designed by VTT Technical Research Center; it’s designed to handle rough and icy conditions, while its “spouse” Marilyn is made for more ordinary urban drives.

Different situations call for different sensors and strategies — for instance, plain optical cameras perform poorly on snowy roads, and lidar is less effective, so Martti will rely more on radar.

But Marilyn has a rear-mounted lidar for better situational awareness in traffic.

Recently Martti accomplished what the researchers claim is a world first: driving fully autonomously on a real snow-covered road (and hitting 25 MPH, at that).

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