Status: Need is Closed

Alternative Cleaning Technologies for Optical Car Sensors

Request Number

Point of Contact
Need was closed on
Apr 25, 2019

BMW is seeking alternative technologies to clean the glass and transparent covers in front of the camera and LIDAR sensors that use limited quantities of cleaning fluids or, preferably, no cleaning fluids at all. Solutions that meet the need criteria will be invited to work with BMW to evaluate and develop the idea.



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.


Key success Criteria
  • Clean the glass and transparent covers in front of the camera and LIDAR sensors
  • Use limited cleaning fluid, no use of cleaning fluids preferred
  • Be capable of performing between -40°C and +85°C
  • With development have sufficient durability to last the life of a vehicle
  • With development could be used in high volume production
  • Work with glass, polycarbonate, or both
  • Requires minimal downtime
  • Maintain optical quality and does not affect sensor performance
    • Does not cause optical haze or refraction
Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Durable hydrophobic coatings
  • Electrostatic solutions
  • Ultrasonicated, hydrophilic, or catalytic surfaces (using UV)
  • Surface modification: moving surface, texture, etc.
  • Biomimicry
    • Biological vision systems, self-cleaning surfaces, etc.
  • Aerodynamic concepts
Due Date
Jan 30, 2019
Items to be submitted

To submit your idea or proposal, please use the Respond button on the right of this page. Please note that only non-confidential information can be accepted. By submitting a response: you represent that the response does not contain and will not be deemed to contain any confidential information of any kind; and you acknowledge that BMW may, in their absolute discretion, select or reject a response or any portion thereof.


Your response should be an executive summary of what you are proposing. It should include both technical information on how the technology will work in addition to the given benefits to the consumer and how you believe it can be of use to us as a business. Information on the background of those involved in the project will also be required in your response to this need posting.

 Appropriate responses will use the proposal template and address the following:

  • Technical maturity of the approach
  • Supporting data (durability, efficiency, etc.)
  • Availability of samples or of technology demonstration
  • Intellectual property situation
  • Preferred business relations
  • Brief overview of responder


Remember….. Don’t send anything that could be considered confidential at this point.


 Share on LinkedIn!

Client Point of Contact

Christoph Mersmann
Gallery Moderator(s)
Dezarae Carver
Request Number
Area of Interest