FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an embodiment of a vehicle configured with a sensor component and heater element corresponding to a forward-facing portion of a vehicle. Tesla patent.
Tesla filed a patent for “Managing heating element operational parameters” to improve the thermoregulation of sensors in their vehicles. The invention is intended to improve the operation of vehicles in cold weather conditions, removing interfering precipitation in the form of snow or ice in time.
Tesla vehicles are high-tech and offer owners a wide range of features that are not available in any other vehicle on the market today. This is largely provided by a set of sensors that can collect environmental data and cameras that enable Autopilot to work. The presence of a large number of sensors and cameras also requires them to work in all weather conditions, ensuring safe and comfortable driving.
On March 17, 2022, Tesla filed the patent, “Managing heating element operational parameters,” which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application, filed March 19, 2021. It was published on September 22, 2022.
Tesla explains that modern cars are equipped with various sensors and components to make things easier. For example, vehicles configured to operate in autonomous or semi-autonomous mode receive data from various sensors/components, such as radar detection systems, camera vision systems, ultrasonic sensors, and the like. However, the accuracy and consistency of sensors/components can be compromised by environmental factors that may create physical obstructions or interruptions in the operation of one or more sensors. For example, operating a vehicle in colder conditions may result in precipitation (eg, ice or snow) accumulating at their locations on the vehicle, which may prevent or reduce their performance.
The published patent relates to the configuration and management of heater elements associated with sensor components. More specifically, one or more aspects of the present application relate to the management of the operational parameters of a heater element located proximate to one or more sensor(s) mounted on a vehicle. A control component associated with the heater element obtains a plurality of inputs associated with the operation of the vehicle, such as location, operational status of components (e.g., windshield wipers, speedometer settings, radar component operational status or accuracy or other data from the radar sensor component, etc.), ambient temperature, vision systems, and the like.
In accordance with the patent, the control component can utilize a body of information sources independent of any specific temperature or condition sensors on the sensor component to specify operational parameters of the heater element. More specifically, the control component may be able to utilize a lookup table, or other specification, of operational parameters for the heater element component, such as power levels, operating times, or other operational parameters based on a processed set of inputs. The specified operational parameters can be selected with consideration of mitigation or discouraging the build-up of frozen precipitation on portions of the vehicle approximate to the sensor components, such as fascia proximate to the sensors components, protective covers shielding the sensor components, and the like.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.