How Ford’s Keeping Autonomous Car Sensors Squeaky Clean


How often do you think about the effect bugs have on your vehicle? It’s probably not often, well except when a particularly sizeable one gets smeared across your windshield. 


Here’s the thing, while bugs aren’t such a problem for regular cars, they pose a real issue for self driving cars. No, don’t get ahead of yourself, there isn’t some big bad bug out there preventing self driving cars from taking to the streets. No, it’s much simpler than that. 


Bugs can crash into the cameras and make it impossible for the self driving car to see.

Ford had to come up with a solution to this problem, but first they had to simulate the problem itself. That’s when the motor company developed a makeshift “bug launcher” that allows technicians to shoot bugs directly at the sensors.

After a long time testing different methods of keeping bugs off the cameras, researchers realized they should be figuring out how to keep bugs off in the first place. That’s when they created the “air curtain.”


The air curtain actually blows bugs away before they get the chance to make an impact. This method proved incredibly successful but not perfect. There is a second line of defense though. If a bug does make contact with one of the sensors, a water spray squirts it off! 



This is truly incredible engineering, and shows that we can’t simply give self driving cars the brains to operate, we need to give them the tools to do it right!

Categories: News
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