Exterior Sensor Cleaning: Present and Proposed Methods 2020-01-0081
The connected vehicle is a reality and the autonomous drive (AD) vehicle is nearing levels 3 (conditional automation) and 4 (high automation) functionality in certain vehicles. The vehicles are nearly completely dependent upon their on-board sensors. These include the ultrasonic blind spot sensors, short- and long-range RADAR, LiDAR, and others. Without these actively working and providing accurate, viable data points for the vehicle to analyze and made decisions on, the vehicle’s operations are suspect at best. This use case provides for a massive amount of liability for the OEM, Tier 1, and other suppliers. This also provides for safety issues for the consumer or commercial organizations purchasing these vehicles.
The sensors thus have to be completely in working condition and provide the correct data from the vehicle’s environment. One aspect of this involves maintaining a clean or at least debris-free surface. With the sensor facing the environment, this is exposed to dirt, mud, sleet, snow, acid rain, and a myriad of other environmental conditions daily. To maintain the appropriate level of active and passive data retrieval, these need to be relatively clear. Certain materials are a detriment to this, while others are more of a not significant bother. This topic is not overly researched, as cleaning sensors may not be a top priority at this junction. Certain OEMs have a solution in place. The research paper shall detail these currently in place and in proof-of-concept (PoC) testing, along with the adjacent research in other industries. The research paper shall also propose new concepts to solve this issue. These in place would be an alternative to the present options, which would provide a solution-driven and focused more so on the primary issue, not secondary symptoms.
Charles E. Parker, Jessica Wasen, Lucky Munro