Foil heating makes lidar sensors weatherproof

Foil heating makes lidar sensors weatherproof

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Automotive suppliers Webasto (Stockdorf, Germany) and Canatu (Vantaa, Finland ) have developed a foil heater to be integrated into the Roof Sensor Module (RSM). The RSM offers automakers the ability to integrate ADAS sensors and sensor availability functions – such as cleaning, cooling, de-icing and anti-fogging – into the vehicle roof.

One advantage of positioning sensors on the roof is optimal detection. The all-around visibility and elevated positioning at the highest point of the vehicle is ideal for lidar sensors in particular, according to experts, to provide long-range 3D mapping of the environment. The integration of Canatu’s de-icing and anti-fogging system into the RSM ensures reliable performance of ADAS sensors in harsh weather conditions. The same foil heaters can also be used for camera systems.

“To enable functionality in harsh weather conditions, a reliable de-icing and anti-fogging function is required. The Canatu foil heater delivers excellent results for exactly these functions and convinces with high optical and thermal performance,” says Magnus Sviberg, Director Special Products, Webasto Roof and Components SE.

The collaboration between the two companies began back in June 2021, and during the joint development project, the companies tested and verified various stack designs to optimize light transmission and heating performance.

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The film heater is lidar-transparent and completely wireless, providing fast, uniform and energy-efficient heating across the entire surface without optical distortion. The heater is applied to a polycarbonate film and integrated into the RSM cover by film insert molding (FIM) during the production process.

Lidar is considered one of the leading technologies for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) because it can measure distance to objects and create detailed 3D maps of the environment. Major OEMs are investing in the development of lidar sensor systems and are driving the rollout of automated (Level 3) and fully autonomous driving (Level 4). However, the negative impact of harsh weather conditions on lidar sensors remains an obstacle on the road to fully autonomous driving. In winter weather or high humidity, lidar sensors become covered with ice, fog and snow, compromising reliable detection of objects and distances. Canatu’s foil heater solves this challenge by keeping sensor coverage clear, enabling reliable lidar sensor range and autonomous driving even in harsh weather conditions.

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