Tesla is really racing to make the Robotaxi a reality. To that end, the American company has just filed a patent application for an automated sanitation system that will be used on its new self-driving vehicles.

The system, as you might guess, will come into operation at the end of each journey, allowing subsequent customers to get into a clean and, in fact, sanitised car. The patent in question has been filed under the generic term "Control of environmental conditions in confined spaces". Let's see how it works.

A large number of sensors

 "Shared spaces offer advantages in terms of cost, efficiency and environmental sustainability. For example, a car that allows several people to move around all day has lower transport costs and a lower environmental impact than a car used by just one person for personal travel," explains Tesla.

The American company continues, "However, shared spaces have the disadvantage of facilitating the indirect transmission of communicable diseases via contaminated air or surfaces. Current means of sanitising shared spaces, such as manually wiping surfaces with disinfectant wipes, can be time-consuming, laborious and lead to unsatisfactory hygiene conditions. What's more, these manual activities are not always easily verifiable".

 

And here's the idea - the adoption of a series of sensors of various kinds, including cameras, acoustic, thermal and pressure sensors, as well as capacitive, radio frequency and gas sensors, to always maintain the general conditions of the Robotaxi cockpit, which, once the need for intervention is signalled, is disinfected using UV lamps and a special heating system.

A service centre is always necessary

What if that's not enough? If the user of a Robotaxi is particularly uncivil and leaves rubbish or other refuse inside the vehicle? Elon Musk and company have thought of that. Tesla is planning to use a network of equipped areas to clean up the vehicles more thoroughly if necessary. It will do this with similar automated operations, perhaps using Optimus robots.

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Rimac, who is talking about the self-driving taxis it will introduce through its subsidiary Verne, also touched on the issue, mentioning the need for a mothership where the fleet will have to go periodically to be cleaned and sanitised.

All very interesting, you might say, but there remains the question of full autonomous driving, which is by no means resolved at present and remains the main crux of the problem for the roll-out of the service. Of course, if Tesla is already working on cleaning up the vehicles, that means progress will be made soon. All we can do now is wait until 8 August, when the Robotaxi will be officially unveiled.