The Future of Paint Coatings: Autonomous Vehicles
Technology speeds along at a breakneck pace. The internet was invented a relatively short time ago, and it’s now infiltrated every aspect of modern life. We fact check, communicate, and use it for leisure from the palm of our hand or even the flick of a wrist. When technology burgeons in one place, it’s sure to do the same in all areas of life and that holds true with paint coatings. With the discussion and apparent advent of autonomous vehicles (AVs), paint coatings will play an important role. Sensors and lasers will need something to visually direct them, and coatings are the perfect roadmap.
Sensors typically emit light pulses in order to “see” their surroundings. This would ring true in an AV and would mean that paint coatings would need to have high reflectivity in order to render the sensor most effective in determining distance. Technology would be wisely invested in producing coatings with high reflectivity without adversely affecting the appearance of the paint.
Not only will the AVs themselves need paint coatings, but their cameras and lenses will need protectant coatings as well. One can imagine the danger a dirty lense would present for an AV, and so these coatings need to be formulated in a manner which resists dirt and is easy to wipe clean. Frost resistant technology would also need to be employed for areas that face colder weather.
Another consideration to make with paint coatings and AVs is that of surroundings: AVs need to not only be able to see other cars, but also road signs, lane markings, pedestrians, and construction workers. Ensuring that these objects are marked properly and with visible (to the AV) pigmentation will be imperative.
Paint Coatings and the Future
The future is grand and exciting, and with the advent of autonomous vehicles, the industry of paint coatings will have to adjust its focus and reassess goals as it conforms to the technological climate. This will take time, money, and a team effort from varying industries, and MICI is excited to be part of this bright future.