Clarion’s AlwaysClear™ Camera Cleaning System Takes Vision-based ADAS Performance to the Next Level

As we edge closer to fully-autonomous vehicles being the norm, car manufacturers are opting to upgrade future generations of their vehicles with high-tech Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and semi-autonomous driving technologies that rely on sensors and cameras to provide drivers with additional parking and driving support. While these technologies can ensure a smooth ride, detect parking and driving obstacles, eliminate blind spots and even monitor current road conditions, something as simple as dirt, ice or even snow can render these advanced systems completely useless with a buildup of debris and cloudiness. 


Historically, when automotive cameras got obstructed by grime, drivers had no choice but to manually clean the devices by hand — which adds hassle to the commute and requires the driver to exit the car and perhaps even need cleaning solutions handy to remove the elements sticking to the lens. Those days are thankfully gone! Created as a solution for preventing ADAS technology interference due to camera lens occlusions and maintain ideal system performance, Clarion, an industry leader in automotive grade vision systems for top automakers across the globe, created AlwaysClear™, the first fully-automatic cleaning system that can actively detect and remove obstructions from any number of cameras installed on a vehicle. 


AlwaysClear eliminates the hassle and headache of dirty camera lenses by automatically sensing lens occlusions and cleaning them off automatically through a calibrated mixture of pressurized water and air. While some vehicles are already available today with manual camera washing system, AlwaysClear takes it to the next level, by detecting occlusion automatically and utilizing compressed air to ensure a quick, efficient lens cleaning with only a few drops of actual washing solution. Additionally, the system is smart enough to determine when the lens needs to be clear and, if there’s a need to repeat the cleaning process if the occlusion is not removed. In other words, AlwaysClear gets the job done! Last but not least, AlwaysClear is the world’s first multi-camera, surround view automatic camera cleaning system.


An added benefit of AlwaysClear is the integrated PER CAMERA diagnostic system that constantly monitors the image signals coming from all of the vehicle’s cameras and automatically initiates cleaning of a dirty camera when a specified percentage of the lens gets obstructed. This fully automated system allows the driver to focus on the road while taking comfort in the fact that the car’s sensors and cameras are providing a crystal clear image, and reliant ADAS and autonomous driving systems are working at optimal performance. AlwaysClear cuts down on the amount of cleaning fluid consumed because it cleans each camera lens individually as needed. This makes AlwaysClear superior to, and far more efficient than, competing systems that clean all camera lenses when really only one camera needs it. 


AlwaysClear technology with PER CAMERA diagnostics is available from Clarion today, and has been deployed at varying capacities in current model year vehicles from tier-one automotive brands around the world. Vehicle manufacturers are also evaluating AlwaysClear for deployment in future vehicles with camera- and LiDAR-based level-4 autonomous driving capabilities.

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Alyson Yarberry