Among the many challenges facing the mass adoption of LiDAR technology keeping the sensor window clean and clear is one of the least discussed. However, it is essential to the proper functioning of the device and overall autonomous control system. If the beam path is obscured by rain, ice, snow, or dirt then the LiDAR distance sensing will be rendered ineffective. Poor signal resolution due to environmental conditions is not limited to LiDAR sensors but will also impact multi-sensor approaches used in future ADAS systems, including cameras. This issue should be of major concern to any vehicle manufacturer who wishes to achieve full Level 5 autonomous driving.
This is a guest post by Dave McLean.
MAC Thin Films, Inc. is collaborating with global partners to supply window heating solutions for semi-autonomous/autonomous vehicle applications in public transportation, farming, goods transport, personal transportation, and the like. These solutions enable the LiDAR window to be integrated into existing viewports. The window can also be color matched to enable discrete placement within the vehicle fascia and other external components.
MAC Thin Films, Inc has developed FrostFree™, a new LiDAR window with an anti-reflection coating featuring solid-state defrosting capability and ultra-broadband transmittance through both the visible and near-infrared LiDAR wavelengths. The defrosting capability ensures that LiDAR units stay fully operational during cold and inclement weather. Unlike many common heating solutions, for example the rear-window defrost in passenger vehicles, there are no wires in the windows aperture. This ensures that there will be no interference in the sensor’s beam path thereby maintaining ultimate signal fidelity. FrostFree™ is also available with a UV-resistant, durable, hydrophobic coating layer to prevent dirt, snow and ice from sticking to the window.
For further information on the all-weather lidar sensor window, please CLICK HERE.
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