Tesla wants to replace windshield wipers with lasers that clean debris.
Remember when Tesla filed a patent to replace traditional windshield wipers with lasers that clear debris from the windshield? Well, nearly two years later, Electrek has discovered the wild patent has been officially granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Yes, really.
Tesla refers to the technology as "Pulsed laser cleaning of debris accumulated on glass articles in vehicles and photovoltaic assemblies." The laser beams act as "a cleaning system for a vehicle" and "includes a beam optics assembly that emits a laser beam to irradiate a region on a glass article of the vehicle, debris detection circuitry that detects debris accumulated over the region, and control circuitry."
According to the patent, "the control circuitry calibrates a set of parameters associated with the laser beam emitted from the beam optics assembly based on detection of the debris accumulated over the region on the glass article, controls an exposure level of the laser beam on the debris accumulated based on calibration of the set of parameters associated with the laser beam, wherein the exposure level is controlled based on pulsing the laser beam at a calibrated rate that limits penetration of the laser beam to a depth that is less than a thickness of the glass article, and removes the debris accumulated over the region on the glass article using the laser beam."
As well as the windshield, Tesla envisions using the lasers to clean debris from the Autopilot system's cameras. This technology isn't restricted to cars either, as it can also be used to clean solar panels on houses.
When the Cybertruck prototype was unveiled without any windshield wipers, there was speculation the laser technology is being developed for the electric truck when Tesla filed the patent. Since then, however, a more recent patent suggests Tesla is developing futuristic-looking electromagnetic wipers for the Cybertruck instead. This isn't the only futuristic technology Tesla has filed patents for either. Last month, Tesla filed a durable glass patent for the Cybertruck's windshield with sharp curves and folds.
However, just because the patent has been approved, it doesn't necessarily mean the Tesla Roadster will have lasers instead of windshield wipers when it eventually arrives after numerous delays. Manufacturers often file patents for technology that never becomes a reality.