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Self-driving cars, flying taxis, drone deliveries… It’s clear that we are in the midst of a global mobility transformation. It’s driven by the need to improve vehicle safety, reduce accidents on roadways, improve transportation efficiencies, and increase profitability with new mobility models. Technologies in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous driving (AD), and 5G connectivity – which enables vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications – are evolving to address these needs. And automotive sensors are at the center of it all. They will enable better situational awareness, improve control and make driving easier and safer. They can also be instrumental in achieving more efficient traffic flow, reducing commute times and helping to improve the safety of citizens.
3M can help you integrate, protect, and optimize sensors in your vehicles. And that’s just the start. With multiple technology platforms and deep automotive and electronics experience, we can help maximize performance of increasingly sophisticated camera, radar, LiDAR, and ultrasonic sensor systems in nearly any part of the vehicle. In short, we can help you meet the automotive sensor design challenges you face today and into the future.
From parking assist to lane departure warning and driver monitoring systems, camera sensors will remain at the core of the automotive sensing and perception suite as the industry evolves from ADAS and active safety technologies to highly automated driving. 3M offers a wide range of solutions to integrate, protect and optimize camera systems and help you capture their full potential.
Successful integration of cameras into vehicles means successful bonding, joining and concealment – without affecting functionality. Vibration-free imaging depends on strong bonds, stress relaxation and often a delicate balance of both. Camera brackets, lenses, image signal processors and many other crucial camera components must bond to a variety of substrates. And camouflage film conceals IR cameras, allowing for the seamless placement of driver monitoring camera systems where they will be most effective.
Protecting camera sensors from moisture and shock requires easily incorporated, highly-engineered solutions. These include engineered cushioning foams and elastomers that disperse impact energy and absorb vibration. They also include ultra-thin and easy-to-apply electronic grade coatings that help to protect printed circuit boards (PCBs) against moisture and corrosion. For exterior camera applications such as back up cameras, 3M offers a replaceable film to protect against inclement weather and other contaminants.
Dissipating heat from signal processing units, reducing electromagnetic interference (EMI) and providing an effective bond on flexible printed circuitry are essential to optimizing camera system performance. Thermally conductive tapes help enable optimal temperature ranges for improved reliability and intended performance. Electrically conductive tapes and EMI absorbers help improve signal to noise ratio across a wide range of frequencies and sources. Adhesive transfer and double-sided tapes deliver excellent bonding power and resist moisture and humidity on flexible printed circuit boards.
As the automotive industry works toward increased vehicle autonomy levels, radar sensors will be critical to enable key ADAS functionality such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. With long-range millimeter wave radar, these sensors are also an excellent complement to camera and LiDAR technologies and can help to unlock more automated driving possibilities. 3M solutions can help address key design challenges to ensure radar keeps performing as intended.
Radar sensors perform well in all types of weather, and must have bonding solutions to match. This requires a blend of permanent adhesion and viscoelastic stress relaxation under load for internal and external applications. Inside the unit, structural liquid adhesives can provide strength for narrow bond lines. And our thin bonding tapes, including double sided and adhesive transfer tapes, feature a variety of chemistries including silicone for bonding PCBs to copper plates.
Corrosion and weathering are particular concerns for protecting radar sensor components, especially PCBs. A great solution: Novec™ Electronic Grade Coatings. These ultra-thin, easy-to-apply coatings protect against corrosion without the need for thermal curing. They provide a uniform oleophobic and hydrophobic layer to shield against moisture, chemicals and other particulates inside the radar sensor unit.
E-A-R™ cushioning and damping materials absorb vibration in sensitive locations, such as PCB standoffs, and in exterior mounting locations where durability is a concern. For ingress protection, check out our 3M™ VHB™ Tapes.
A big challenge for radar sensors: their construction requires engineered thermal management solutions that direct heat away from signal processing units and the components needed to generate radio frequencies. With increased connectivity and electronics in the vehicle, electrically conductive tapes and EMI absorption materials are more important than ever to ensure signal integrity. Tapes for bonding flexible printed circuits (FPCs) withstand high temperatures and adhere to a wide range of substrates without lifting. And well-placed anti-reflective material can help minimize radar wave reflections from a variety of emblem systems.
LiDAR sensors when used with other sensing technologies provide redundancy for each sensing scenario. However, with its high resolution 3D mapping capabilities, LiDAR systems will take automated driving to the next level. These sensors are the most challenging in the sensor suite and solving for these challenges is essential to the successful deployment of autonomous vehicles.
LiDAR units require robust solutions for sealing as well as bonding and joining. Our foam core tapes combine permanent adhesion and a viscoelastic foam core for a combination of stability and flexibility that bonds, seals and secures internal sensor components. Liquid structural adhesives and a range of thin bonding tapes provide strength in small spaces. Together, these solutions help eliminate concerns about detachment of critical sensor components or LiDAR sensor brackets - allowing for placement of LiDAR sensors across the vehicle.
Perhaps the foremost challenge for LiDAR, the protection of valuable components requires uncommon solutions designed specifically for resistance to impact and moisture. They include ultra-thin polymer coatings that protect against corrosion, and engineered foams and elastomers that dissipate impact within the LiDAR unit. Our replaceable Sensor Protection Films from 3M can help shield units from inclement weather while preserving optical clarity and functionality, even when placed in locations such as rooftops. For ingress protection, our 3M™ VHB™ Tapes feature 100% closed cell technology to create an exceptionally tight seal and long-lasting bond.
As LiDAR technology progresses, sensors process much faster and at greater load. They must also work with other sensor technologies such as radar and camera units without signal disruption. EMI absorbers are crucial. Electrically conductive tapes and adhesive transfer tapes for flexible printed circuits, help bond circuitry components and control electrical current. And a range of thermal interface tapes and pads direct heat and keep LiDAR sensors operating at peak performance.
Dependable and proven for short range, ultrasonic sensors require precise placement on the vehicle for optimal performance. 3M’s bonding and joining solutions can help to reliably and securely attach these sensors anywhere on the vehicle.
Our 3M™ Acrylic Foam Tapes have continually set the standard for permanent bonding to a wide range of vehicle surfaces. Today this technology is available as a reliable solution for bonding ultrasonic sensors in a wide range of locations to meet your vehicle design and production specifications – and to enable new designs for the road ahead.
In a 5G connected and autonomous driving world, vehicles will generate and process more data at higher speeds and frequencies. Sensors and other automotive electronics designs are smaller, higher-performing – and produce a lot more heat. Also, as signal transmission and frequencies increase, especially in the millimeter wave spectrum, the risk of signal loss intensifies. Managing these challenges will help improve automated driving systems performance and reliability for increased safety on the road. 3M offers a range of advanced materials to help improve dielectric properties and thermal conductivity. Added to automotive sensors and electronic components, these 3M solutions can help to simplify system designs and improve overall performance.
Our 3M experts are dedicated collaborators invested in finding or creating the best solution for your unique challenge. Connect with an expert today to discuss our sensor solutions, and discover what’s possible for tomorrow.
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