Development of a LiDAR Cleaning System for Autonomous Trucks

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Gustafsson, Carl
Karlsson, Fredrik
Abstract Autonomous driving is emerging as the future of transportation. For autonomous driving to be safe and reliable the perception sensors need sufficient vision in sometimes challenging operating conditions including dust, dirt and moisture. LiDAR perception sensors used in certain autonomous driving solutions require both a clean and dry sensor screen. The purpose of this thesis is that through developing and testing of concepts, provide Volvo with both knowledge and a baseline design to help with future product development of sensor cleaning systems in similar applications. The developed concept for an improved cleaning system for the 2D-LiDAR sensors mounted to autonomous Volvo trucks are used in a mining operation. Emphasis in the concept is on the resource efficiency of the fluid available on the truck during operation. A cleaning head placed above the LiDAR does not compete for space with other systems around the LiDAR, allowing for greater design freedom. The prototypes indicate high potential in cleaning performance and as they were 3D printed in PA 12, proved a promising manufacturing method allowing complex geometries. The design combined with 3D printing also enables flexibility, allowing quick design changes to conform to different LiDAR shapes. Comparative testing against the currently implemented cleaning system is done in this thesis with dirt scenarios from intended to use-cases. The result provides clear evidence of improvements against the current solution. Following an exploratory design and testing phase, it was concluded that great improvement in resource efficiency was achieved through the use of fluid specific nozzles, drastically reducing the fluid consumption of previous cleaning systems used by Volvo. Testing also gave evidence of existing knowledge gaps due to the novelty of the LiDAR cleaning task. This convinced the thesis workers that more research is needed and that standardized test methods need to be established to facilitate comparability between cleaning systems developed and tested in the future.
Autonomous Driving, Autonomous Trucks, LiDAR, Sensor, Cleaning,, Nozzle, 3D printing, Product Development
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