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Monday, 02 December 2019 19:05

Tesla Files a Patent for Laser Beams That Can Burn Off Debris From a Car's Glass

Written by Loukia Papadopoulos, Interesting Engineering
Tesla laser beam patent. Tesla laser beam patent. Tesla/United States Patent Application Publication


Tesla and CEO Elon Musk are known for their cutting-edge creations that seem to be ahead of our time.

It seems that every month the firm is cooking up a fresh innovation ready to revolutionize the world.


Bye-Bye Windshield Wipers, Welcome Laser Beams


This is why we weren't surprised when we found out about Tesla's latest super-cool patent. With its latest invention, it seems that the firm is looking to clean the glass on its cars with laser beams.


Yes, you read that right! Laser beams! The beams would be used to clean every glass surface on Tesla vehicles, including those in front of cameras used for autopilot systems.


The system would use cameras to detect dirt on windshields, side or rear glass, or camera lenses and then deploy a laser to burn the debris off when necessary. The patent even features an illustration of a Tesla Model with lasers mounted on its hood and fender.


But the question is, would lasers really be better at cleaning debris than traditional windshield wiper? While we don't know the answer to that, one thing is for sure, the lasers are capable of targeting areas of the car not accessible to conventional windshield wipers.


A Safe Solution?


We have to give it to Tesla, this is definitely a thinking-out-of-the-box, innovative solution. But are lasers safe for cleaning glass? Common sense would suggest that the laser would pass through and possibly damage what is on the other side of the glass including humans in the car.


But, the people over at Tesla have already taken care of this issue, and the patent takes into account that problem. They recommend coating the glass with an indium tin oxide coating to ensure that the laser beams can't pass through. 


Tesla also suggests using the system for cleaning photovoltaic solar panels. It is known that debris on solar panels greatly reduces their ability to generate electricity. 


However, cleaning solar panels has long been a complicated and labor-intensive undertaking. Could lasers be the solution we have all been waiting for?

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