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Sunday, 1 December 2019

Tesla wants to equip its cars with a laser system to automatically remove dirt from windshields


In recent years, Tesla has been developing a technology that seems to have come out (once again) of a sci-fi film: a laser beam system intended (among other things) for its vehicles, whose function is the automatic elimination of accumulated dirt on the windshield.

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After the announcement of its Cybertruck , the public has more than ever understood the avant - garde trend that the brand has been following since its debut. The "laser washer" system (let's call it that) first lets think of a hoax, but it is not so. This is indeed a serious project that has already been the subject of a patent.

Earlier this year, Tesla filed a patent application entitled "Cleaning Debris Accumulated by Laser Pulse on Vehicle Glass Components and Photovoltaic Assemblies". The document was made public this week.



Phiroze Dalal, a specialist in scientific and industrial imaging at Tesla, considered the inventor of the innovative system, describes the patent :

"A vehicle cleaning system that includes an optical assembly emitting a laser beam for irradiating a region on a vehicle glass member, a debris detection device that detects accumulated debris in the area, and a circuit for detecting command.

The controller calibrates a set of parameters associated with the laser beam emitted by the optical assembly based on the detection of debris accumulated on the glass area. It controls the level of exposure of the laser beam to accumulated debris as a function of the calibration of the set of parameters associated with the beam, in which the exposure level is controlled according to the laser beam pulse at a calibrated rate which limits the penetration to a depth less than the thickness of the detritus, and eliminates them ".

You are granted, based on this description, it is difficult to conceive what could actually look like such a laser system. To help you, here are two first technical drawings from the document.

Technical drawings showing the laser system for windshields. Fig. 2B: distant 3D view. Fig. 2A: close lateral sectional view. Credits: Tesla

Tesla explains that the system could be particularly useful for automatically removing any debris obstructing the camera's autopilot camera lens. In addition, the company plans to take advantage of the system to automatically clean dirt from solar panels on rooftops.

Drawing showing the laser system for photovoltaic panels. Credits: Tesla


However, we remind you that a patent application does not ensure the placing on the market of an associated product. Tesla, like many large corporations, often file patents that end up in the archives without ever being commercially exploited.



As a result, we do not know for sure what will happen to this technology. But knowing the ambitions of Elon Musk, it is likely that the system "washer-ice" laser is installed on future Tesla models.

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