Detroit — As the push toward automation drives forward, vehicles are going to be equipped with more and more sensors and cameras.
Those sensors and cameras are bound to get dirty, especially in areas that get snow. Röchling Automotive showed off a solution to the issue at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The company partnered with an automotive electronics partner to develop a system that would deliver cleaning fluid to the areas in front of the monitors and camera lenses.
"Using the same windshield wiper bottle, we've upgraded it with a pump and a manifold," said Vincent Mauroit, the company's general manager of innovation and business development. "With that system, we can provide cleaning fluid when needed, where needed."
The system is also intelligent, he said. If the fluid is running low, it will detect that and only provide cleaning fluid to those sensors and cameras that focus on safety issues.
Röchling also showed off two products aimed at aerodynamics.
"We want to be perceived as the partner to solve aerodynamic issues or to improve aerodynamics," Mauroit said.
Known for its active air shutters, Röchling showed off active air blinds. The system works similarly: The blinds deploy to improve aerodynamics behind the grille. The difference is the dozen or so plastic shutter pieces are replaced with one plastic blind that moves up and down.
"The main advantages of the blinds are they can completely close the grille. With normal veins, you still have some leakages and here we can eliminate it," Mauroit said.
The piece can also include LED light features that can light up behind the grille.
"It gives a more attractive look to the vehicle and raises the design of the vehicle to another level," Mauroit said.
Röchling also showed off an active air dam. That plastic piece lowers below the bumper of large trucks and SUVs to improve efficiency. The air dam automatically lowers at speeds near 50 mph, Mauroit said.
"Depending on the vehicle, you can reduce the aerodynamic drag by 10 to 20 points," he said.
Magna International said it has a similar system on the new Ram 1500 introduced at the show.