February 11, 2021
As reported by InsideHook and WomenonWheels, Toyota recently filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its “car wash judgment system”, a feature that will enable driverless vehicles to sense when they are dirty and subsequently drive to a nearby car wash.
The application describes the technology as follows:
“When a vehicle that has transmitted traveling information is an automated driving vehicle capable of performing automated driving and when the traveling information of the automated driving vehicle satisfies the car wash condition, a car wash instruction unit transmits an instruction signal for moving the automated driving vehicle to a car wash station.”
The system utilizes a set of parameters and different sensors to determine when the vehicle requires a car wash. For instance, inclement weather, mucky or unpaved roads, and winter slush will prompt the vehicle that it is due for a cleaning.
Once the “car wash condition” is triggered, the vehicle will alert the car wash through a remote server. The car wash will promptly respond, letting the vehicle know when it can come in for a cleaning. The remote server will also enable the car wash to have access to the vehicle’s navigation system, which will provide live updates regarding the vehicle’s arrival time and the type of cleaning required.
According to WomenonWheels, Toyota’s car wash judgment system addresses an inevitable issue that will arise in a future where vehicles are fully autonomous and private car ownership is overtaken by ride-sharing services.
Authors: Sam Galway and Maddie Warren