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Not quite self guided, but it could be quite easily....sorry, you cannot view external links. To see them, please
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If you ignore Shanks Pony with its on board dataprocessing capabillity using such antiquated methods as map compass, altimeter and pacing and dead reckoning; I would have though GPS would be your most reliable macro navigation tool coupled with radar (Geezers link) or a laser scanner (lidar) (such as a Rigel VMX) for collision avoidance
IR may not be as effective as you would like it to be.The snow and ice would undoubtedly mask IR signals (with ice crystals looking uniformly cold).If you saw a deer's IR signature, it might mean that you are VERY close.I would think you might be better off with short wavelength signals. For example UV, X-Ray, or even Gamma emitters placed on guard rails. A passive weak gamma emitter might be the easiest to construct.I don't know if you could use the short wavelength signals to detect obstacles though. I'm not sure about sonar guidance. It is quite possible that heavy snow would also distort sonar signals. For example, bubbles in water is supposed to be an excellent way to dissipate shock waves. Is snow similar?
I see notes that UV is reflected by snow (thus one gets sunburnt easily when skiing). So, that is a bad idea.Gamma is a type of radiation. It is all dose dependent. Have you checked your radioactive gamma emitter in your house recently? Yes, most people have a little chunk of radioactive americium in their homes. Perhaps several as you may be required by law to have it in each of the bedrooms, as well as other rooms in your house.The trick would be to get some with low enough activity to be visible as a beacon, without giving too great of a dose. Thus, one could keep the risk for humans and animals minimal (hopefully less than having accidents).
Note that aircraft use radar to see and this penetrates water. The issue here is that the speed through a mass such as water is different to that in air. Similarly, GSM appears to work without any impact from weather. An overlay of radar and something operating in the GSM (900 kHz) range may work. The other issue is that many of these frequencies are already taken up/ sold, so theres no ground for using them commercially.
Voxx - you cannot use gamma radiation. It tends to go straight through most things - ionizing a few things including important cellular components on its way. Sonar?