Bug splatter could be disastrous for autonomous cars
Autonomous vehicles have had numerous obstacles to climb.
Many companies have worked tirelessly to convey the feasibility of computer-driven cars, but also to convince the general public that handing over control of the vehicle to a digital pilot is safe.
As research continues at an ever greater pace, a new obstacle could prove potentially critical for the future of autonomous vehicles: bug splatter.
Autonomous cars are reliant on a collection of sensors dotted all over the car. These perform analysis of the surrounding environment and report it back to the computer that is now in control of the car.
However, it has emerged from research done by Ford that a bug collision in the wrong place could cause some serious issues.
The American company is considering bugs such a threat that they have spoken with zoologists to understand the splats and the creatures that create them.
Ford even investigated numerous ways to clean the bugs from the sensors mid-journey, until coming up with a rather interesting invention.
Currently their autonomous vehicles have a large system attached to the roof called the 'tiara', and this is where the sensors are currently housed.
Ford have managed to aero-dynamically style these oft bulky structures to funnel air away from the sensors. As the car moves along, bugs are pushed out of the way of the sensor by induced airflow.