Ford Motor Company has filed a patent for a self-cleaning vehicle sensor assembly, Ford Authority has learned.
The patent was filed on September 15th, 2021, published on March 16th, 2023, and assigned serial number 0080514.
The Ford Authority Take
Last fall, Argo AI – the Ford and Volkswagen-backed autonomous vehicle technology company – was shut down in a bit of a surprising move, but one that we later learned was being made as both automakers realized that Level 4 and 5 autonomy won’t be profitable anytime soon. Ford is instead focusing on Level 2 and 3 tech via its newly launched subsidiary, Latitude AI, which employs around 550 former Argo engineers and has taken over its headquarters and test track. Now, this newly filed Ford patent gives us a glimpse at what the self-driving future may look like in a very different sort of way.
This Ford patent centers around an idea for a self-cleaning vehicle sensor assembly, which could be necessary in the future if these types of vehicles are equipped with Lidar or other types of equipment on their roofs, as was the case with Argo AI’s Ford Escape robotaxi models that were utilized in Austin, Texas for a while. Sifting through the patent, the vehicle drawings present there are a dead ringer for that particular Escape model, too.
This Ford patent mentions that this type of self-cleaning tech could be used not only on autonomous vehicles, however, but also regular ones as well. This makes sense given the fact that newer models typically utilize an array of sensors as part of advanced driver assistance systems, which can become inoperative if they get dirty or covered in snow or ice. However this isn’t exactly a brand new idea, as Ford was experimenting with utilizing washer fluid, pressurized air, and other methods to clean A/V sensors more than three years ago.
As such, this patent makes quite a bit of sense, particularly as vehicles employ more and more sensors, seemingly with each passing year. However, aside from ensuring that things like automatic braking and hands-free highway driving assist features like BlueCruise continue to function as intended, this is especially important if driverless, fully-autonomous vehicles are ever to come to fruition.
We’ll have more on this and all Ford patents soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford patent news, Ford business news, and ongoing Ford news coverage.
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