An anonymous reader writes: Using a combination of radar, cameras, and light-sensitive radar called LiDAR, one of Ford's self-driving cars has successfully navigated a winding road at night and without headlights. LiDAR works by emitting short pulses of laser light -- 2.8 million laser pulses a second -- so that the vehicle's software can create a real-time, high-definition 3D image of what's around it to determine the best driving path. Ford's self-driving cars come equipped with high-definition 3D maps, which include information about road markings, signs, geography, landmarks, and topography. If a vehicle isn't able to see the ground due to inclement conditions, it will detect above-ground landmarks to locate itself on the map. Ford's self-driving cars equipped with the LiDAR radar system are particularly noteworthy because they can operate without the usual cameras that depend on sunshine and street lamps.