Star Wars solution. Patent shows Tesla wants to replace conventional windscreen wipers with laser beams
Electric car giant Tesla is considering replacing the traditional wiperblades found on most car’s windscreens (or windshield for US readers), with laser beams.
The far fetched plan was discovered by Electrek, after it uncovered a Tesla patent that targets and then fires a laser to remove debris from rear-view mirrors, window panels and windshields automatically.
The “laser wiper” comes after the Californian company this week unveiled its futuristic Cybertruck electric vehicle, which sports an angular, stainless steel design that used to found on the DeLorean sports car of the early 1980s.
According to Electrek, Tesla filed the patent application earlier this year for what it called “Pulsed Laser Cleaning of Debris Accumulated on Glass Articles in Vehicles and Photovoltaic Assemblies.”
The patent became public this week, and is said to be the brainchild of Phiroze Dalal, a scientific and industrial imaging specialist at Tesla.
The patent described as follows:
“A cleaning system for a vehicle includes a beam optics assembly that emits a laser beam to irradiate a region on a glass article of the vehicle, debris detection circuitry that detects debris accumulated over the region, and control circuitry,” the patent reportedly said.
“The control circuitry calibrates a set of parameters associated with the laser beam emitted from the beam optics assembly based on detection of the debris accumulated over the region on the glass article, controls an exposure level of the laser beam on the debris accumulated based on calibration of the set of parameters associated with the laser beam, wherein the exposure level is controlled based on pulsing the laser beam at a calibrated rate that limits penetration of the laser beam to a depth that is less than a thickness of the glass article, and removes the debris accumulated over the region on the glass article using the laser beam,” it said.
It is not clear if rainwater is classified as debris, but Tesla apparently wants the systems to automatically remove any debris obstructing the view of the Autopilot cameras around the car.
This ‘beam optics assembly’ could also be used to clean solar panels.
Just because Tesla has applied for the patent, does not of course mean that this concept will actually arrive on production vehicles.
Indeed, the idea of firing a laser beam anywhere near the eyes of a driver is sure to send Tesla’s health and safety department into panic.
The department has already had to contend with the Cybertruck, where the product demonstration by CEO Elon Musk of the armoured windows did not go according to plan, as the vehicle’s windows shattered during an attempt to demonstrate their durability.
But that gaffe has not affected pre-orders for the Cybertruck, with orders already approaching 250,000.
According to Musk, the Cybertruck will cost $39,900 (£31,000) and more, depending on the number of electric motors.
The top spec three motor option is to have an estimated battery range of up to 500 miles.