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Driverless Cars Use Ultrasonic Cleaners On Sensors

The allure of driverless cars has encompassed the entire nation as videos of somewhat amazing feats are done by these vehicles in everyday situations. Seeing a video on the internet of a vehicle drive itself with no human intervention is truly amazing. Vehicles seem to navigate roadways without hitting pedestrians, and obeying traffic signals and avoiding obstacles with ease. This technology is progressing rapidly, however there are still some very big obstacles to overcome before driverless cars become the reality that one sees in science fiction movies. One of these obstacles is rather rudimentary, or gross, depending on how you look at it. Bug splats from a moving vehicle tend to cover the front of the vehicle as it passes through an environment, and other road debris does almost as good of a job as bug splats at causing the front edges of a vehicle to turn into a mess while driving. Bug splats and road debris are things that driverless cars are susceptible to just as cars piloted by drivers, and the debris has the potential to cover the sensors used by driverless cars, causing the vehicles to lose their driverless functionality as the sensors fail. Therefore, in order to clean the sensors during operation of a driverless car, experts are looking at using little spray nozzles to clean the sensors. Better yet, instead of using spray nozzles, automakers are interested in using ultrasonic cleaners on each sensor to keep it clean. Preliminary results show that ultrasonic cleaners are very promising at keeping the driving sensors clean, and would be superior to spray nozzles, since washer fluid would not be necessary to keep each sensor clean. There are many sensors used in driverless cars, some have 8 to 10 cameras and just as many LIDAR sensors. Therefore, keeping them clean during driving is important.


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