Europe [Corporate Information]

Clarion Announces the Development of a Multi Camera Washing System

28/12/2018

Automatic System to Wash Multiple Automotive Cameras, which are used as External Sensors for Autonomous Driving

Clarion Co., Ltd. (President & CEO: Atsushi Kawabata / hereinafter “Clarion”) has developed a Multi Camera Washing System. This system automatically washes away the dirt on each camera with a mist that is a mixture of air and fluid. The purpose is to ensure the accuracy of cameras, which are used as external sensors for autonomous driving.
This Multi Camera Washing System consists of our unique technology to detect dirt by camera and the washing control technology of the air supply device, washing fluid supply device and solenoid valves. The technology to detect dirt by camera comes from an expansion of the technology that conventionally washed one camera. We have developed a new camera ECU that includes the function to detect dirt of on multiple cameras as images. It enables to detect the dirt of each camera individually. The washing control technology controls the air supply device, washing fluid supply device and solenoid valves in the pump ECU according to the dirt condition detected for each camera. It then runs the optimal washing mode for each camera. 
The washing flow of the Multi Camera Washing System is as follows:
(1) The camera ECU detects dirt on the lens surface for each camera with the image processing function and then notifies the pump ECU.
(2) If the received dirt level exceeds certain threshold, the pump ECU washes the applicable camera with the optimal mode. The current system is designed to wash camera lenses. However, we plan to expand the system to wash other sensors such as laser radars (LIDAR) in the future. 
System Overview Diagram System Overview Diagram
Many sensors are mounted on the exterior of vehicles in autonomous driving systems. In particular, dirt on the surface from rain, mud and insects affects the detection performance of cameras and LIDAR – the optical sensors. This Multi Camera Washing System supports the improvement in the continuity of autonomous driving. This system also enables reduce the consumption of fluid comparing with the ordinary washing system. It provides a convenience for drivers by reducing the effort to refill the washing fluid. It 
Clarion has commercialized a one camera washing system through joint development with a car manufacturer in Japan in the past. We have now developed multiple camera washing technology based on this technology. We will continue to work on further improving this technology toward practical application in the future.

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