Tesla looks to replace windscreen wipers with lasers
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While a lot has changed on the humble car since Henry Ford first started mass-producing the Model T, it could be argued that even more has stayed the same, with rubber tyres, glass windows, and doors that open outward.
Windscreen wipers are another component that have stayed largely the same since the car's inception over a century ago, as a strip of rubber that wipes a windscreen clean, but Elon Musk might be set to change this.
This is because Tesla was recently granted a patent for a system that uses lasers to clear debris from a windshield (and other surfaces) - which sounds a lot more exciting than plain old rubber wipers.
Dubbed "Pulsed Laser Cleaning Of Debris Accumulated On Glass Articles In Vehicles And Photovoltaic Assemblies", the space-age system would use sensors to detect debris and blast it with a pulsing laser.
Tesla notes that the laser beam will be pulsed at a precise rate as to not penetrate the glass beneath the debris, and cause damage to the vehicle's occupants.
The obvious use for this new tech is on vehicle windows, but it's noted that it also could prove to be of significant value if it can clear debris from cameras that safety systems rely on.
“Dirt on lenses of a camera mounted on a vehicle may cause errors in image acquisition,” the company states. “As another example, dirt accumulations on photovoltaic panels over a period of time may cause a decrease in a power capture efficiency of the solar panels.”
While this all seems great in theory, it will be interesting to see how accurate the sensors are, as to not harm anyone if a hand is placed on a window. But in saying that, it could also be a useful deterrent for car theives.