Backup cameras seem simple compared to other car technologies found in today’s models, but these are in no way less important than their more advanced counterparts. This feature gives any vehicle a huge safety boost as it was designed to prevent rollover accidents, which not only damage property but also claim lives. As helpful as backup cameras are, these have one major flaw: its usefulness is affected by the elements.
Cold and warm seasons alike make the device less effective. During winter, a backup camera cannot provide the driver a clear view because its lens is covered with ice, snow or even salt. Even warm climates have something to block the camera’s view—instead of ice or snow, the lens has dirt and sometimes mud. While detritus is not a serious problem, it is a major inconvenience for motorists. Imagine having to always clean the surface of the camera lens to ensure a clear rear view.
Fortunately, Ford Motor Co. has come up with a way to make the cleanup of a backup camera lens much easier. According to The Detroit News, the Dearborn carmaker is developing a cleanup system similar to the one from which windshields benefit from. Ford has created technology that releases washer fluid to camera lenses, similar to that which releases washer fluid to clean windshields.
Developed with the help of Bowles Fluidics Corp., Ford’s washer system discharges a stream of fluid that quickly oscillates to eliminate the likes of snow, salt or mud from the surface of the camera lens. It was designed to work not only for backup cameras, but also front cameras.
However, the system intended for front cameras were a little more challenging to design. In the case of front cameras, the team behind the technology had to consider aesthetics. They had to figure out how to properly conceal the nozzle, since front cameras are usually mounted near the car’s brand badge. What the team decided to do was design a nozzle that is able to come out of a covering only when the motorist needs the lens to be washed.
The Blue Oval debuted its washer system on the 2012 F-150 SVT Raptor and has now made it available as an optional addition to the technology package offered for the 2015 F-150’s high-end trims (Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum). The technology will also soon be offered for the 2015 Edge crossover as well as the forthcoming 2016 Explorer SUV.