Toyota’s autonomous vehicles will not only drive themselves to different destinations, but they’ll also decide when they need a wash — and get it.
The Japanese automaker filed a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trade Market office for technology that would not only permit a vehicle to determine that its dirty, but also drive itself to the car wash to get squeaky clean.
The technology, according to Jalopnik.com, can figure out if it’s driving on a dirt-filled road or in bad weather. Once it’s made that determination it sends a message to the car wash of your choosing that it needs to be cleaned. The car wash then lets the vehicle know when its ok to come on up and get a shower.
The opening paragraph of the patent, which was released by the patent office on Christmas Eve, too late for shoppers looking for that last minute gift for that hard to buy for automaker, pretty much outlines the system.
“In a car wash judgement system, an acquirer acquires traveling information of a vehicle. A condition retaining unit retains a certain car wash condition,” the patent reads. “A judgement unit judges whether or not traveling information acquired at the acquirer satisfies the certain car wash condition. An unpaved road information retaining unit retains unpaved road information indicating of an unpaved road.
“The certain car wash condition includes traveling on an unpaved road by the vehicle. When a vehicle that has transmitted traveling information is an automated driving vehicle capable of performing automated driving and when the traveling information of the automated driving vehicle satisfies the car wash condition, a car wash instruction unit transmits an instruction signal for moving the automated driving vehicle to a car wash station.”
Fortunately, Toyota’s got the perfect place to test this new technology: Woven City, the automaker’s “living laboratory” to explore clean energy, alternative transportation and other “smart city” concepts. The automaker is scheduled to break ground on the 175-acre complex near the base of Mount Fuji sometime later this year.