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Tesla Robotaxi Can Clean Itself

A patent filing reveals the advanced self-cleaning technologies Tesla intends to use in its Robotaxi fleet.

Tesla previously revealed self-driving taxis, the Tesla Robotaxy, which will need constant cleaning as they are driverless, which is what modern technology will do.

Tesla Robotaxi with self-cleaning technology

Tesla has revealed a patent for advanced self-cleaning technologies that it intends to use in its fleet of robot taxis, enabling its fleet of robot taxis to clean themselves.

Tesla Robotaxi Can Clean Itself

Automakers need to find a way to keep self-driving taxis clean as they anticipate a world full of them.

According to Tesla, it would be "time-consuming and tedious" for people to clean the robotaxis on a regular basis.

In a post-pandemic future, it may be a daunting task to remove the residual effects of bad human habits from thousands of these robots. So automation is the way of the future, and finding technologies that make cars clean themselves is important.

Self-driving car technology cleans itself

Tesla has revealed the technology it plans to employ in its upcoming robotic cars to keep them free of diseases and pathogens in a patent application filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in February but recently published online.

According to the patent announcement, the sensors will determine how clean the car is. The CPU will create a “sanitation routine” to disinfect the entire car or specific sections like the dashboard, touchscreen, and seats based on the data it collects from the sensors.

The car's computers and sensors will also determine whether it needs a deeper cleaning or just a disinfection.

Techniques for sterilizing Tesla robotaxi cars

Next, Tesla Robotaxi’s self-driving cars use one or more technologies to sterilize themselves, including emitting ultraviolet light at certain wavelengths and infrared energy.

In order to eliminate some viruses, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) controls may also be used to increase the cabin temperature.

The onboard computer could spray surfaces with “disinfectant vapor” if deemed necessary. What kind of hardware would be required for this is unknown, as is how Tesla plans to package it.

Technologies capable of detecting diseases

It's also possible that the sensors will be able to identify diseases and target specific touch surfaces with a "disinfection light" when they are found.

Curiously, the technology can also detect coughs and sneezes, using sensor data to “transmit vapor from the passenger’s mouth to the outside of the car.”

However, technology has advanced greatly. To get people to cover their lips, if I were the robot, I would simply send out bold warnings and turn up the volume to carry out the instructions.

Tesla Robotaxi Cars Can Sun Themselves

Additionally, the robotaxi may be able to position itself so that more tactile surfaces are exposed to sunlight in a particular direction.

As we know, sunlight is a natural and effective way to destroy bacteria. So, why not? To let more sunlight in, this may include opening a door window or a sunroof.

According to the patent application, depending on which way the sun shines, even the screen will tilt at a certain angle and the chairs will change to let in more light.

The robotic taxi will drive to a parking spot where service robots will clean it if it can't clean itself. "Infrared lighting, contact heating, or steam sanitation" are potential uses for the robots.

Sensors in Tesla Robotaxi Cars

According to the patent, there's a whole suite of sensors that let you do all of this :

  • Vision sensors.
  • Acoustic sensors.
  • Thermal sensors.
  • Weight sensors.
  • Pressure sensors.
  • Capacitive sensors.
  • Radiofrequency sensors (to detect human body breathing, heartbeat, etc.).
  • Laser sensors.
  • Humidity sensors.
  • Gas sensors.

Questioning Tesla's Technology

But with all these developments and technologies that have been revealed, some see the need to question them, even a little.

Especially with regard to the widespread application of this technology to fleets of self-driving cars.

This is because when these cleaning robots are deployed, there will be a huge need for support infrastructure. This is the opposite of what superchargers have shown, which has shown that the technology is useful but to be effective it takes years to build a robust infrastructure capable of covering the area.

Furthermore, it's not clear what happens if, for example, a dirty passenger stuffs bags of potato chips into the car's deep pockets, smears gum under the seat, or sweats all over the upholstery after a workout.

Can service robots handle some of humanity’s most disgusting habits? But at the Robotaxi reveal event on August 8, we may soon find out.