Home » News » Researchers Create Self-Healing Lens to Stop Traffic Accidents in Self-Driving Cars

Researchers Create Self-Healing Lens to Stop Traffic Accidents in Self-Driving Cars

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(Image credit- LatentView) Traffic accidents frequently result from the malfunction of vision systems, such as LiDAr sensors and image sensors in autonomous cars, which decreases the safety of these vehicles. A group of Korean researchers develops a chemical that can address these security issues. During a press preview of a field test of the driverless mobility service Easy Ride at the Minato Mirai business district in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, on September 9, 2021, a Nissan Motor employee was photographed taking his hands off the wheel of the company's autonomous vehicle while seated in the driver's seat.

Self-Healing Lenses for Autonomous Vehicles

The Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology's scientists has developed a material that can restore scratches on the sensors of driverless vehicles, potentially lowering safety concerns. In just 60 seconds, the chemical, according to the reports, can clean scratches off the sensor surface. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]Development of self-healing lens material to prevent traffic accidents in self-driving cars - YouTube Image credit - YouTube[/caption] The team's transparent lens material eliminates scratches by focusing sunlight with a magnifying glass as a basic tool. Flexible materials have an edge when it comes to achieving outstanding self-healing performance because it is advantageous when molecular movement inside the polymer is unconstrained. Also read: Tesla will alter its approach by lowering prices to increase sales However, it will be quite challenging to put this into practice because lenses and protective coatings are comprised of hard materials. A solution was developed by the KRICT-KNU by fusing a transparent photothermal dye with the lens material "thiourethane" to produce a dynamic chemical connection that repeatedly separates and reassembles under sunshine. The material may absorb light of a specific near-infrared wavelength (850-1050 nm) without affecting the visible light region (350-850 nm) used for image sensors and the near-infrared region (1550 nm) required for LiDAR sensors. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Researchers Develop Self-Healing Lens, Preventing Traffic Accidents in Self-Driving Vehicles | Tech Times Image credit- Tech Times[/caption]

Process of Recovery

The self-healing process is made possible by the surface temperature that develops as a result of the material being exposed to sunlight. The scratch will self-heal as a result of restarting the chemical processes that cause the lens to dissociate and recombine. According to reports, this will show perfectly healed scrapes, offer outstanding resilience and maintain effectiveness even if the treatment is applied more than five times. "This technology is a platform technology that synthesizes self-healing lens materials using both an affordable high-refractive polymer material and a photothermal dye," said Dr. Lee Young Kuk, president of KRICT. It is anticipated to be widely employed in many applications, including sensors for driverless vehicles, eyewear, and cameras. The research team is led by Dr. Kim Jin Chul, Jeong Ji-Eun Park Young Il, Professors Kim Hak-Rin, and Cheong In Woo from Kyungpook National University, in addition to Dr. Lee. The study is currently available and has been published in the ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces journal. After conducting the successful study, the team anticipates that numerous manufacturers will heavily utilize the technology, using it for autonomous vehicle sensors as well as its glasses and cameras to avert future mishaps.

By Raulf Hernes

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