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Ultrasonics to Keep Lidar Clean

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AVEP11_08
Published November 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
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  • English

Widely used in many industries, ultrasonic cleaning may be the solution for that most-sensitive of AV sensors.

Mobility engineers often note that autonomous vehicles are only as good as their sensors and the algorithms within. But the reliability and driving precision of an AV involves an equally important factor: the cleanliness of the sensor head, particularly that of lidar.

To understand what a lidar must endure, ride a motorcycle. A summertime tour on a road bike, or off-road on the trail coats the rider with dust, dirt, water and bug splatter. All the muck and grit that sticks to a rider's helmet visor and jacket - in addition to winter-time salt spray - is the stuff that will “blind” a lidar sensor, jeopardizing vehicle safety.