AV community looks to prevent soiled sensors

Mud, snow, dust and rain all present challenges for an autonomous vehicle. Simulation tools can help developers to flag problem areas, writes Freddie Holmes

The perils of a dirty sensor have become increasingly clear for the autonomous driving community, with cameras proving particularly prone to faulty operation. Just as a human might struggle to see with mucky eyeglasses, the same problem extends to a vehicle’s sensors, which already support a range of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) today.

These can be easily—and frequently—disabled due to adverse weather such as snow or a build-up of muck and grime from the road surface. Bugs may splatter the front of the car, having the same effect. Even heavy rain can lead to a malfunction. For this reason, companies are working to understand how sensors can be kept clear through a dedicated cleaning system that sprays and wipes. Work is also underway to better understand how water flow may impact sensor performance.

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