Webasto and Covestro develop prototype of Roof Sensor Module

Webasto and Covestro develop prototype of Roof Sensor Module

Innovative sensor technologies ensure safety of all road users

  • By ICN Bureau | June 13, 2024

Automotive supplier Webasto has developed the prototype of a Roof Sensor Module (RSM) in an elegant design. It is equipped with a polycarbonate panel for aesthetic and seamless integration of sensors for automated and autonomous driving. For the module’s bezel, Covestro supported with its injection molding expertise at the technical center at its Headquarters in Leverkusen.

The bezel is produced on Covestro's 2300-ton injection molding machine. The first shot is made of the transparent polycarbonate Makrolon AG, which is highly permeable to various sensor signals. For the second shot, the black, mineral-reinforced PC-ABS Bayblend® T95 MF is used. Thanks to the combination of both materials, the roof module meets high mechanical requirements while offering an attractive design with glass-like surfaces and transparent sensor windows.

In addition, the combination of these materials provides the necessary design freedom for the integration of all relevant electronic and mechanical components. Many of such parts are furthermore attached by elements that are formed in the second shot. Suitable potential coating systems for the RSM are polysiloxane coatings, which are sprayed via a high-speed rotary bell to ensure homogeneous layer thicknesses over the entire component surface.

In use, radar and lidar sensors, as well as cameras, measure the distance and speed of objects in front of and next to the vehicle and also reliably detect traffic lights, traffic signs and road markings. In order to function optimally, the temperature of the electronics must be regulated. This is ensured by an integrated thermal management system. The high heat deflection resistance of polycarbonate ensures that the roof module remains in shape even at high outside temperatures and strong sunlight and that the functionality of the sensors is not impaired.

The Makrofol ST polycarbonate film, which is introduced in specific sections and is characterized by a defined transmission spectrum in the visible and infrared range, enables a seamless design with high transparency for LiDAR signals. In addition, the film serves as a carrier for Canatu's transparent heating system. This de-icing function as well as the specially developed cleaning system ensure flawless operation even under adverse weather conditions.

All in all, this development offers not only a portfolio of engineering solutions, but also concepts for developers of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) who need reliable and cost-effective bezels for their 3D imaging systems.

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