Autonomous vehicles require multiple optical sensors, such as cameras or LIDAR, in the car’s body on all sides. Today, such sensors are mostly used for parking assistance.
In automated driving, the accurate function of these sensors is required to ensure safe driving. Contaminants such as dirt, dust, organic material and different phases of water (ice, rain, snow, etc.) on the surface of the sensor yield blurry and inaccurate images, thus leading to erratic system performance. In the current set up, cleaning fluids are sprayed onto the optical surface of the sensor. BMW would like to reduce the use of fluids and is interested in alternative technologies that can keep sensors clean.