No. You didn't read that headline wrong.
This isn't some kind of crazy creation from the underground LAYERRR of Dr. Evil. Oh no. This is a very real patent application and, as you'd probably expect for something as mental as this, it's come from Tesla.
Considering how utterly insane looking the Cybertruck is and the typical Elon Musk weirdness that's followed in the wake of the truck's launch, are you really surprised now?
No wipers = lasers?!?
The official name for this straight out of the most insane depths of parody science-fiction technology is something to do with “Pulsed Laser Cleaning of Debris Accumulated on Glass Articles in Vehicles and Photovoltaic Assemblies" and it will include "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 patent goes on to state that "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."
The technology could additionally be utilised to clean the lenses of the cameras used for the Autopilot system. All that is a very fancy way of saying THEY'RE GOING TO ATTACK YOUR TESLA WITH LASERS.
It's technology that could have more of a place in the world than just being on cars. It could be used to clean the top of Tesla's solar roofs, for example. This would quite clearly be a lot easier and safer than venturing up to the top of the roof yourself to clean the dirt and moss off that tends to gather on roofs. Indeed, it might even be a more practical use of the technology than in the context of trying to use it to replace windscreen wipers.
Will lasers replace windscreen wipers? Very likely not. Tesla, like all car manufacturers, submits patents that have no guarantee of making their way onto a production car. A laser might not be very good at clearing off water either, meaning that even if the laser system was ever fitted, it would only be good for clearing off bits of gunk and dirt and not rainwater – a traditional wiper would still be needed.
Of course, there's also the safety concerns associated with lasers, particularly those to do with if a laser beam accidentally gets into somebody's eyes. Clearly that's something Tesla will have to address if the system ever makes a production car.
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