This article aims to provide an overview of Camera & Sensors Cleaning applications and the related spraying technology.
Below is a brief summary:
Nowadays autonomous vehicles require a significant number of sensors, cameras, Lidar, and radar in order to “see” their surroundings. Typical vehicles today already utilize many of these sensors intended to alert the driver to dangers within the driving envelope of the car. Drivers today already know the benefits of some of them such as forward and rear-facing cameras, lane and brake assist, and proximity alarms. These sensors and cameras greatly assist drivers, adding another layer of situational awareness for the driver. If these sensors and cameras become non-functional or obscured, this can be an annoyance, but the driver is still capable of operating the car safely, albeit the “old fashion way”.
Autonomous vehicles use even more of these sensors and cameras, with increased radar and Lidar capabilities, to safely operate the vehicle, without a human driver. These sensors are the “eyes” of the vehicle’s brain, not just performing a backup sensing function. Any vehicle using these types of systems needs a clear, unobstructed view in order to function properly and ensure safety. If the sensors become non-functional or obscured, the autonomous vehicle will lose visibility of its surroundings, creating a very significant danger.
The picture above shows the type of sensors typically used in an autonomous vehicle. Each of these sensors can be rendered useless, or less functional if the sensor lens is obstructed. Hydraulic circuits for cleaning the sensors will be needed for liquid or air spraying of each sensor. The expected spraying hydraulic circuit will have the pump located close to the liquid reservoir. Once engaged, the pump will produce flow to a solenoid bank, which will direct the flow to a spraying nozzle at the various sensors.
The number of sensing components in autonomous vehicles is ever increasing up to 20+. Any one of these sensors could require cleaning during operation, or multiple sensors could require simultaneous cleaning. Pulling over for manual cleaning is not optimal, or even safe. Autonomous vehicles will use spraying technology to remove debris and clean the lens very quickly, without interrupting the operation of the vehicle. It requires fast and robust spray systems that can spray multiple sensors simultaneously.
The pump performance in these systems will need to be fast-acting and produce more flow under pressure than a typical washer pump can achieve.
Moreover, the pumping system should comply with stringent efficiency requirements: from the units’ weight up to the capability to tune and keep the best flow rate/pressure working point.
Our volumetric pumping technology easily achieves the high-pressure requirements of sensor cleaning applications. The use of the Fluid-o-Tech products will produce high pressure resulting in improved cleaning performance, even at colder temperatures. Additionally, our products can react quickly in a pulsed-spraying high-pressure system which will provide better cleaning using less fluid.
Being already a player in the automotive market and certified according to IATF 16949, Fluid-o-Tech has a significant advantage. We are well experienced with spraying, from SCR pumps, and water injection pumps to sanitizing pumps.
Our volumetric pumping technology offers higher pressure and greater overall efficiency throughout the operating range compared with the standard centrifugal pumps, which are usually designed for a specific duty point.
In particular, Fluid-o-Tech gear pump technology has proven to be the most reliable, efficient, and robust pump technology over the years for use within the SCR delivery module.
Our products have shown proven leadership in the automotive market over the last 10 years thanks to a pulseless flow, reversible operations, long service life, low noise, reduced size, and weight.
Our products are designed for easy integration into the vehicle according to OEM’s specifications.
We are able to offer best-in-class performance operating under temperature conditions ranging from -40° C to +80° C. Our solutions are specifically optimized to resist freezing conditions and vibrations. We guarantee our performance, whilst achieving long maintenance-free life.