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Some very interesting patents that Tesla has filed over the years. All of these seem very plausible to me becoming reality except for the laser beam window cleaners.

1. Windscreen Wipers Will Be Replaced by Laser Beams

Tesla, Inc. filed for a laser beam window cleaning system in May 2019, which is described as ‘pulsed laser cleaning of debris accumulated on glass articles in vehicles’. The system is set to use ‘debris detection circuitry’ to spot dirt on your car window. Then, controlled laser beams pulses at a specially calibrated rate, which removes the debris without damaging the glass surface.


2. You Will Change Speed via Touchscreen Steering Wheel

In August 2018, Tesla, Inc. filed for the ‘user interface for steering wheel’ patent, detailing an interactive steering wheel which responds to gesture movement, allowing the driver to control the car’s functions more conveniently through hand signals and touch.

Some functions in the patent description aren’t that unusual, like controlling the music or air con. However, Tesla’s redesigned steering wheel would also allow drivers to change speed, music, air con and auto-pilot functions via the touchscreen.


3. Intelligent Safety Features Will Know How Old You Are

Vehicle safety sensors can already measure a passenger’s height and weight, but this can be a serious risk for young children. Standard airbags are not recommended for children, as they can cause injury. However, if a child is the same height and weight as a small adult woman, the vehicle may not detect the difference. This means the airbag could be deployed unsafely and harm the child.

Tesla plans on upgrading vehicle safety sensors with their patented technology, so they can accurately predict the age of a passenger. Different age classifications will affect the airbag’s release, whether it’s fully or partially detonated, or not at all. The sensors are expected to accurately predict the age of a passenger in a variety of conditions, with posture, leg position and clothing considered. The patent was filed for in April 2018 and has just been granted in June 2020.


4. Sensors Will Scrutinize Your Bad Seatbelt Habits

Seat belt sensors are not new; many vehicles can detect a person if they are not buckled in. Tesla has taken seat belt safety one step further with a patent filed in December 2018 detailed as ‘improper seat belt usage detection’. This system of sensors can identify if a person is wearing their seat belt incorrectly, for example, if you tuck the seat belt underneath your arm or behind your back.


5. Your EV Digital Map Will Know if You’re an Efficient Driver

Tesla plans on introducing ‘a first energy-versus-distance measure for a planned driving route of a vehicle’, where the driver will be able to see how much battery power remains upon completion of their journey. Other cars have similar technology, like the BMW i3, but Tesla’s system is set to be the first that uses the ‘energy-versus-distance measure’.

What’s more, the technology makes decisions based on driver characteristics, from predicted speed to whether the driver will use the air con, which can affect efficiency. The system is updated in real time and can change depending on the weather, traffic, and the availability of charge points in the area.

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