When it comes to innovation in the auto industry, Tesla is seemingly always at the forefront. They popularized electric cars, shifting public view on them from a failed fad of the past to an essential way forward. Tesla also led the way when it came to autonomy; in late 2014 the addition of Hardware 1 to the Model S saw consumers experience levels of driver assistance previously never seen in a mass-produced car. And as Tesla grows in size they continue to invest in R & D, always looking at smarter and more efficient ways of doing things. Now it seems they have turned their attention towards windshield wipers.
In 2019, Tesla reportedly began work on an idea to use laser beams to clean debris off cars. They filed a patent application for the idea, writing the following:
“A cleaning system for a vehicle 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. 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.”
Two years later and the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Tesla the patent for their laser windshield wipers, as per Electrek. Officially titled “Pulsed laser cleaning of debris accumulated on glass articles in vehicles and photovoltaic assemblies”, some are speculating the tech could debut on the Cybertruck. Why? Because the Cybertruck prototype unveiled in November 2019 did not feature any windshield wipers whatsoever.
Whether or not this far-fetched technology will feature on any of Tesla’s vehicles, including the production Cybertruck, remains to be seen. That said, the firm is reportedly developing electromagnetic wipers as well. It goes without saying that electromagnetic wipers would be an easier and more realistic option to develop and produce, so perhaps you can expect to see them on some of Tesla’s vehicles soon.