ALWAYS STAYING CLEAN

The number of assistance systems aimed at making driving safer and more convenient has risen steadily in recent years. The self-driving car has long been pursued and its development has evolved over time, with automated functions gradually being developed, based on established driver assistance systems, and installed in more and more new vehicles. In this way, drivers are being introduced to vehicle automation step by step.

Effective assistants such as blind spot monitors and parking assist systems are already an indispensable part of our everyday driving routines. Whatever the system, it takes a whole host of sensors and cameras to provide the detailed environmental information – sometimes more than 20 units. The data obtained from these sensors are used as the basis for important decisions. In highly automated and autonomous vehicles, sensors and cameras are essential for the safety of the vehicle and its occupants.

With the Advanced Active Cleaning System (AACS), Röchling Automotive has developed an intelligent solution, which cleans the electronic sensors of the autonomous vehicle quickly and efficiently. If dirty, the system specifically targets these zones and cleans them with the minimum amount of cleaning fluid required. As well as the state-of-the-art sensors such as those for the proximity radar, of course the reversing camera, headlights, windshield and rear window are also reliably cleaned.

Smart Cleaning
The intelligent cleaning system is energy efficient because all the sensors needed for autonomous driving can be reached using only one pump. The pressure control and dosing for this pump is performed by an integrated master cleaning system, which decides when, where and how much water is used – and at what pressure. Sensors integrated in the water tank continuously monitor the fill level of the tank and, when the level is low, prioritize the water supply according to the importance of the zones to be cleaned. In this way, the system ensures that each tank is used to its maximum potential. So in order to be prepared for the increased use of electric vehicles in the future, the engineers at Röchling Automotive also made sure that power consumption is as low as possible.

Intelligent Design
The AACS water tank can be individually adapted and positioned in the vehicle entirely according to customer requirements. To ensure the safety of autonomous vehicles for their entire service life, the system must fulfill the strictest requirements with regard to reliability. Accordingly, various routings can therefore be used to supply multiple contact points to be cleaned. The nozzles are designed so that the requirements of the zone to be cleaned are met perfectly. As not all sensors are exposed to the same degree of contamination, the pressure and quantity of the water supply are controlled as needed.

Anyone who has ever parked a car outside for a longer period of time will know that the water in the tank freezes when temperatures drop below zero. This problem can be solved with additives but these can leave smears on the glass and affect visibility. “The solutions from Röchling Automotive for thermal management in the tank successfully prevent freezing. In this way, we ensure that the system can react quickly and provide liquids that have the highest level of cleaning power,” says Walter Kral, Head of Product Line Fluid Components & Systems, referring to Röchling Automotive’s many years of experience in the field of thermal management.

Innovative Complete Package
The AACS is an intelligent system solution for the mobility of tomorrow. It can be both integrated in existing vehicle architectures and used in completely new designs. The AACS enables the targeted, effective and economical cleaning of the important sensors and cameras on modern vehicles, thereby ensuring a comfortable and safe journey at all times. The system is currently in the prototype phase and is being further developed by Röchling Automotive.

 
 

Walter Kral
Röchling Automotive
Head of Product Line Fluid Components & Systems
Phone: +39 0471 958-355
walter.kral@roechling-automotive.it

Photos © rcfotostock – fotolia.com, Röchling