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Tesla is exploring the idea of self-sanitizing cabs

Garth Gator

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Tesla’s vision for the future of transportation extends beyond self-driving cars. A recent patent filing titled “Controlling environmental conditions in enclosed spaces” (via patent researcher Seti Park) has revealed the automaker’s ideas for autonomous robotaxis that can clean themselves.


The document outlines a multi-pronged approach to in-cabin sanitation. Tesla proposes using ultraviolet (UV) light and disinfectant vapors to combat bacteria and viruses. The system would also incorporate ultrasonic sensors and camera vision to ensure no passengers or belongings remain inside during the cleaning cycle.


For tougher messes, the patent hints at the possibility of robotized cleaning arms within the vehicle itself.



Tesla argues that current cleaning methods are often time-consuming and inconsistent, leaving room for germs to linger. An automated system could provide a more thorough and constant level of sanitation, especially in a ride-sharing environment where multiple passengers come and go throughout the day.  


Keep in mind that the design remains as paperwork, and there’s currently no certainty that Tesla will work on it. If it does decide to work on self-sanitizing cars, challenges it would need to consider include the effectiveness of disinfectants against various pathogens, as well as the potential safety risks associated with UV light exposure. There may also be some issues with practicality of the self-cleaning mechanisms, particularly for dealing with spills or biohazards.


The focus on sanitation might also be seen as a distraction from Tesla’s core challenge: perfecting its self-driving technology. While a clean robotaxi is certainly desirable, a reliable and safe one remains the top priority.





Image: Oleg07871 | Dreamstime.com

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