Intelligent sensor cleaning enables driverless cars to ‘see’ in rain and snow

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A new concept for an intelligent cleaning system for autonomous vehicle sensors and cameras has been unveiled to address the issue of dirt, rain and snow contamination, which can interfere with their operability.

The sensors and cameras installed on an autonomous vehicle are the eyes and ears that enable its ADAS. They enable to vehicle to drive safely without the requirement of human input, and this is why keeping the sensors and cameras clean is essential.

The Advanced Active Cleaning System (AACS) designed by Röchling Automotive is a modular solution that delivers targeted, on-demand water pumped to up to eight different sensors around the car to wash away debris.

“With the development of our AACS, we are actively confronting the question of safety during automated driving,” said Erwin Doll, CEO of Röchling Automotive. “Our technology is designed to ensure that, as the ‘senses’ of the vehicle, the cameras and sensors are able to work under ideal conditions at all times. In this way, we support automotive manufacturers with a flexible modular system solution for various different levels of automation.”

The pressure of the water can be adjusted as required with the pump, located under the hood of the vehicle in the concept image, working at an optimized high or low pressure to reduce energy and water wastage.

The AACS also features an innovative solution to the issue of cold weather, which could cause the applied water to freeze over, by ensuring cleaning is delivered within the shortest possible time as well as using residual heat from electrical systems and the engine exhaust to warm the water.

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