Chemical & Engineering News reports “Carmakers will need plastics for all the new cameras, radar, LIDAR, sensors [and redundant safety] on the vehicles.” The use and the dependability of plastic electric sensors, wiring, harnesses, and connectors will be essential for autonomous vehicle deployment and life-saving safety features. Interior vehicle safety sensor communication and vehicle-to-vehicle communication will require redundant safety features to remain continuously reliable.
Today’s cars have hundreds of plastic connectors in service per vehicle. They help sustain today’s typical 10-12 year vehicle lifespan. More than just reliable, plastics spur innovative new technologies. Sensors must “see” through body panel material to perceive the vehicle’s surroundings. Radio frequency transmissions that allow vehicle-to-vehicle sensors can penetrate plastic shields, bumpers, films, panels, and fascia. At the same time, sensors, switches, relays, and timers, consolidate into plastic assemblies, satisfying space requirements, weight reductions, and security demands. Light-transmitting plastic fiber optics can enable “speed-of-light” communications among life-saving sensors and monitors throughout the vehicle to reduce the time between incident and safety device deployment.