How Ford Keeps Autonomous Car Sensors Clean

By Venky Krishnan, Autonomous Vehicle Systems Core Supervisor, Ford Motor Company

When was the last time you thought about how insects affect your driving?

Chances are you never have, since they don’t make much of an impact unless a particularly large one gets smeared across the windshield of your car.

Well I do think about it — a lot. I find myself dedicating an unbelievable amount of time to thinking about these critters as my team at Ford helps make progress on its self-driving vehicle business. It turns out that insects pose a significant challenge to self-driving vehicles.

Over the last few years, Ford has been conducting some serious research into making sure our self-driving vehicles can always see the world around them, no matter what may try to get in the way. We’ve sprayed dirt and dust onto our self-driving vehicle sensors. We’ve showered LiDAR sensors with water to simulate rainfall. We created our own synthetic bird droppings and smeared it on camera lenses.

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