Everything else will be autonomous, why not this?
When it comes to automotive patents, you can find just about anything, from Ferraris with joysticks instead of steering wheels to odd three-wheeled Mercedes pod-bikes. Some make it to production, but others are simply brilliant ideas that are too complex for the world we live in. But imagine a world where your autonomous Toyota Mirai of the future drives you home on its own in the evening, and while your automated house robot cooks your dinner, your car decides to take itself to the car wash. Well, that's what Toyota wants to make a reality, according to a patent filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, revealed on Christmas Eve.
The patent imagery is relatively simple. Filed for autonomous cars, the car would be able to connect to a cloud-based server and both judge whether or not it needs a wash, as well as locate and drive to an automated car wash facility. The actual patent wording states: "In a car wash judgment system, an acquirer acquires traveling information of a vehicle. A condition retaining unit retains a certain car wash condition. A judgment unit judges whether or not traveling information acquired at the acquirer satisfies the certain car wash condition. An unpaved road information retaining unit retains unpaved road information indicating of an unpaved road. The certain car wash condition includes traveling on an unpaved road by the vehicle."
Basically, two systems will judge what is deemed as clean and whether or not the car has exceeded the limits of cleanliness based on the conditions it has been and will be driving in. Thereafter, "when a vehicle that has transmitted traveling information is an automated driving vehicle capable of performing automated driving and when the traveling information of the automated driving vehicle satisfies the car wash condition, a car wash instruction unit transmits an instruction signal for moving the automated driving vehicle to a car wash station."
Essentially, if it's safe to do so and the car won't be getting filthy again in doing so, the car will automatically drive to a car wash and return, and you'll never have to even lift a finger. All in all, this sounds like the kind of autonomy we can get behind.