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New Coating Technology Promises Self-Cleaning Cars

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the wash-it-and-forget-it dept.

Transportation 88

Zothecula writes "Nissan's "Scratch Guard Coat" has been healing fine scratches on the company's cars for a few years now, and the technology has also made its way into an iPhone case. More recent developments have produced coatings to heal more substantial scratches and scrapes using nano-capsules. Now researchers at The Netherlands' Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) have developed a coating that is not only self-healing, but also promises to free car owners of the tiresome chore of washing the car ."

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88 comments

My car is already self cleaning... (2)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about 2 years ago | (#40738827)

I just leave it out in the middle of a rain storm and it comes out shiny and clean!

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40738919)

I peed in your mom's butt.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40738929)

What is wrong with you.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40739701)

Someone peed in his mouth.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40738933)

Just watch out for the hail... unless you drive a golf ball.

It's the mud (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#40743839)

I live in a farm, I have to drive miles and miles of dirt road to get to the nearest tarmac pavement thoroughfare

The biggest "dirt" on my car are DIRT itself - that is, soil and mud, caking on the side and beneath of my car

As they dried, they got hard

Even if I stray them off, they still leave the reddish stain behind
 

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (2)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#40739229)

I don't really care about the outside of the car. As you say, rain cleans it away. What I want is an automatic cleaner for the INSIDE of the car; perhaps a mini-Roomba that can climb the seats and get all the crumbs and such.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (1)

w.hamra1987 (1193987) | about 2 years ago | (#40739689)

spidery robots crawling in your car, sucking dust into their plastic bags...

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | about 2 years ago | (#40741247)

That would scare the heck out of me and my daughters. But vacuuming arms built into the doors that activate when you press the door lock button on the keychain, maybe.I doubt it would be all that good though. Crumbs are difficult to get with a handheld vacuum.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 2 years ago | (#40741633)

If your daughters are anything like mine, they are the cause of all of the crud in your car anyway. Robotic spider overlords might solve the problem, especially of they only come out when something is dropped.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (4, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#40740373)

Rain doesn't remove the oily film and the dirt that's attached to it you picked up from the road. You need soap and some surface agitation to really clean a car from filth. Case in point; those touch-less carwash machines suck balls! Unless it's new or just had a wax job, you're wasting your money on those.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 2 years ago | (#40741693)

Rain doesn't remove the oily film and the dirt that's attached to it you picked up from the road.

You obviously live in some backwards area with an insufficiently low pH to the rainfall.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#40742361)

Does Houston, TX count? My car never got a good cleaning after a whole week of morning and afternoon thunderstorms. Big thick raindrops from the sky. If that doesn't scrub the oily grim from the side of a car, nothing will. Not even a hurricane.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 2 years ago | (#40742521)

As I recall from my last trip through Houston, at least 50% of the precipitation is aerosoled refinery waste and other oily grime. It does come down hard though.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#40745491)

Must have been in the 1960s then. For the past 30 years, we don't get aerosol-ed waste and oil from refineries. I know because I've lived here most of my life. Many of my clients are in the Pasadena area including Deer Park. The scrubbing technology is amazing these days. Practically the only thing that goes up in the air is CO2 and water vapor along with light gasses that often get burned up by a pilot light.

Na. The only major problem we get is excessive ozone from automotive emissions in periods of very hot and stagnant weather. Most of the grime and oily film that accumulates on a car comes from tire tread wear (surprising I know, but it's true), brake dust, truck joint lube, leaky hydraulic fluid and engine oil from the pan. With millions of cars on the road, that crap adds up. It's also why you don't drive for the first 15 minutes on the road shortly after it rains. You need to give it enough time for the rain to wash much of it off the road.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 2 years ago | (#40740489)

I just leave it out in the middle of a rain storm and it comes out shiny and clean!

That trick doesn't work so well in the middle of the desert. We had rain in Las Vegas early this morning, and my car's a mess. All the dust in the air comes down when it rains, and it usually doesn't keep raining afterward long enough to wash it off your car.

Re:My car is already self cleaning... (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | about 2 years ago | (#40745593)

Same in the UAE. That is often how the "abandoned in Dubai" vehicles look abandoned... at least the ones which are actually in Dubai

The outside of the car is not where this is needed (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about 2 years ago | (#40741743)

What I really want to know is will this technology work to keep the kid's car seats clean? And all other objects within 3 feet? And maybe the kids themselves? FYI, leaving the kids out in a rain storm does not leave them shiny and clean. Um, so I hear.

Also the article has no info on the UV/chemical resistance of this coating, or how often it would have to be reapplied. Where are the details?

I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40738855)

welcome our self-cleaning self-driving overlords

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40738871)

...scientists at Nissan have discovered what they now call "Teflon". Updates to follow.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40738939)

but how do they get the Teflon to stick to the car!? MY HEAD HURTS!!!!

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40741555)

Easy- an array of tiny holes in the metal, connected to a mesh of tubing, connected to a vacuum reservoir. Come on, this is /., this stuff should be easy here.

Re:In other news... (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40738989)

...scientists at Nissan have discovered what they now call "Teflon". Updates to follow.

Teflon's a epic fail outdoors because it has zilch creep strength and dirt embeds itself into it, rapidly reducing its friction and electrical properties to that of dirt. Thats one reason (aside from cost) that no one uses teflon insulators for power line or antenna supports.

For obvious economic reasons, the "solution" to the surface filth is going to be deployed on HVDC power line insulators long before it'll be on cars, and even then what works for a mostly motionless insulator might not work on a car.

This is because the nano-sized molecular groups that provide these properties are easily and irreversibly damaged by minor contact with the surface on which they are applied.

Hmm not thinking road gravel at 75 mph is "minor contact". Even road salt and dust is pretty tough stuff. And windshield washer fluid. Heck just a frog-drowning rainstorm at 75 mph is pretty harsh.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40739207)

If you are going down a gravel road at 75mph, you're either in a yellow charger [thefuntimesguide.com] , or racing Baja.

Re:In other news... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#40739377)

That ain't yellow. That's orange. The car beside the tractor trailer is yellow.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40739483)

Looks more like vermilion on my monitor. Anyway the AC might be colour-blind.

Re:In other news... (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 2 years ago | (#40739935)

It may on your monitor, but for all the years it was on television the General Lee has always been orange, and never yellow. Vermillion I have no idea as it isn't a real color. (If it doesn't come in the 16 pack of Crayolas, it isn't a "real" color.)

Re:In other news... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40739521)

Or an old toyota.

We used to go a lot faster than that on the back roads when I was a kid. Not safe mind you, but lots of people do.

Cars? Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40738979)

Cars? Who cares about cars, just wait for the next rain.
What about self-cleaning teenager rooms?

Re:Cars? Bah! (3, Funny)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40739033)

What about self-cleaning teenager rooms?

2-cycle gas leafblower. House stank of engine oil for days. Boy did I get in trouble. Still hear about that one at family get togethers.

What happens when on the way to work, you tell a wanna be, engine revving teenage engineer he can't go out until the cat and dog fur tumbleweeds are vacuumed up? It actually worked pretty well other than blowing some pictures off the walls and pretty well terrifying the cats and dog.

Re:Cars? Bah! (1)

Thorodin (1999352) | about 2 years ago | (#40739143)

I did that only it was an electric leaf blower. It does work wonders on cleaning hardwood floors.

Re:Cars? Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40748029)

I did that only it was an electric leaf blower. It does work wonders on cleaning hardwood floors.

Yes, if by "cleaning" you mean "moving stuff around momentarily".

Re:Cars? Bah! (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 2 years ago | (#40739813)

Better to just tell said teen that you've left a $100 check somewhere in there and they'll find it when they clean.

Unless it is cheaper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40739001)

...explain to me why we would see it on anything but a very high end luxury sports car?

Current paint keeps consumers happy until the warranty is over, and if the paint is damaged, it is considered the owner's problem. One might say this could be offered as an upgrade, but wow, that would make selling the cars a nightmare (none would be on the lot and would have to come straight from the factory, the factory would have an entire additional set of inventory for all body parts so they can be painted the extra set of "new paint" colours, etc).

Nice thought, though. People with $5,000+ will be able to have their cars repainted with it.

Not a nightmare at all (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#40739043)

One might say this could be offered as an upgrade, but wow, that would make selling the cars a nightmare (none would be on the lot and would have to come straight from the factory)

Why is that a problem? MINI already manufactures most cars to order, from color to different interior options. People do not mind waiting a month for a car if they can more fully customize it.

Re:Not a nightmare at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40740047)

>People do not mind waiting a month for a car if they can more fully customize it.

That hasn't been my experience. Do you have anything to back up that the majority of consumers have no problems waiting over a month for their new car?

>MINI already manufactures most cars to order, from color to different interior options

Glad to hear that someone has sorted it out. Last time I bought a new car (Toyota), and last time the wife bought one (Kia), and last time my family bought one (Mazda), and the times before that (Dodge, Nissan) we settled on the colour in the lot as it would take several months to get the colour we wanted. The dealer was happy enough to at least swap about features to get us the features we wanted. Colour wasn't all that big of a deal for us, and speaking with my friends, it isn't a big deal to them, as long as the colour isn't nasty (lime green, weird orange colours, etc) but a more basic/muted colour (Navy, Black, Grey, White, Red). We wouldn't want to wait months for the car. We're shopping for one because we need it soon, not in several months.

>Why is that a problem?

Seems like most manufacturers aren't MINI. Perhaps they will need to discover how MINI does this. Most manufacturers have their cars prepainted and sitting in giant warehouse lots for months, they don't paint them just before delivery to the customer (which, it appears from your post, MINI does).

Re:Not a nightmare at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40740195)

> That hasn't been my experience. Do you have anything to back up that the majority of consumers have no problems waiting over a month for their new car?

www.veloster.org You'll find plenty of people waiting much longer than a month for the car they want. And people clamoring to be able to choose the option packages/color they want.

I waited 3 weeks for mine, another person who was more picky picked up theirs at the same time and they had been waiting for over 6 weeks. Hyundai has a fucked up method of distribution. Not only can you not order the packages/color you want from the factory, dealerships have very little control over what they receive so it is the luck of the draw.

On the minus side... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40739011)

You know, of course, that mankind's lazy desire for truly self-cleaning surfaces will be what leads us to destruction at the teeny, tiny, hands of the nanite plague...

Just a minor nanite-layer replication error and the next user to touch that self-cleaning toilet seat will be converted directly into a lemony-fresh slurry. It'll be all downhill from there.

Re:On the minus side... (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 2 years ago | (#40739447)

It will come from an army or some factory first. Self cleaning surfaces have no need for reproduction, but weapons and industrial equipment have (ok, exponential factories reproduce in a much safer way, if they actualy work).

Re:On the minus side... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40740291)

the next user to touch that self-cleaning toilet seat will be converted directly into a lemony-fresh slurry

For some users that I know that will be about as useful as they have been their whole lives.

Re:On the minus side... (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 2 years ago | (#40741867)

Just a minor nanite-layer replication error and the next user to touch that self-cleaning toilet seat will be converted directly into a lemony-fresh slurry. It'll be all downhill from there.

I've never heard that Soylent Green was lemony fresh. Learn something every day.

What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40739031)

...roads? Cant we figure out a way to not need roads anymore?

Re:What about... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#40740113)

It's been done. [advantagemotorsports.com]

In a libertarian utopia, this is the kind of vehicle you'd drive every day!

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40740457)

And yet another simpleton libertarian bash post. The straw-man is strong with this one!

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40742411)

If Randroids get to have their way with our education system, simpletons will be all that is left.

Stay classy, teabagger.

And robo-fill the damned tank while you're at it! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40739055)

It's the inside that's the problem!

It's the inside that's the problem!

It's the inside that's the problem!

Gosh! Money laying on the ground people.

Re:And robo-fill the damned tank while you're at i (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#40739101)

That's why God gave us hand car wash places.

The one I got to has free wi-fi and vibrating recliners.

Google's self-driving car already does this (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#40739061)

Just program it up to drive to the car wash, drive through it, and drive back home.

If Google adds functionality enabling it to pick up stuff at fast food drive-ins, we're all set for life.

Re:Google's self-driving car already does this (1)

readandburn (825014) | about 2 years ago | (#40741399)

If you're only eating fast food, the life you're all set for is going to be pretty short.

Re:Google's self-driving car already does this (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | about 2 years ago | (#40745625)

I can just picture the google car freaking out while going through the car wash "too close! too close! collision imminent!!!"

Oh, bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40739079)

This is the same marketing pitch that's been used to sell every wax, polish, potion and coating since time began.

How much will it cost to fix a scratch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40739369)

Ugh, I can see it now: If you scratch your paint, you will have to pay for someone with a high-tech paint room to match the present finish. Of course, you can use spray paint, but that part of your car will always - mysteriously - attract dust. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but it really is a little frivolous and will end up just increasing expenses. It's not a BFD to drive around in a slightly dusty car (between cleansing rainstorms).

Re:How much will it cost to fix a scratch? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#40740205)

Spray paint doesn't attract dust. Dust sticks to it before it dries. If you don't clear coat it afterwards, the rough texture will make dust stick to it a bit more easily as well.

And the paint matching problem is why a lot of off-road trucks are painted plain black with plain brush-on metal paint. To fix it, you just paint on more black and it all looks the same. It's a very practical coating but it looks dull and rough and won't attract the ladies.

Never Happen in the States (2)

IhateMonkeys (874193) | about 2 years ago | (#40739455)

This will never happen in the States.
The carwash political lobbyists and Unite Carwash Labor Employees of America Now! (UCLEAN) will bury this technology.

Look what happened to the 100mpg ICE engine.

Won't somebody think of the car wash towels dryers!!

Re:Never Happen in the States (1)

Real1tyCzech (997498) | about 2 years ago | (#40740313)

Wait...

Was the the Internal Combustion Engine engine, or the engine that "RUNS ON ICE!!!"?

Re:Never Happen in the States (1)

IhateMonkeys (874193) | about 2 years ago | (#40740901)

I am a terrible proof reader. My brain works faster than my fingers.

But I'm sure big oil has both of them locked away in their super secret vault.

Re:Never Happen in the States (1)

Real1tyCzech (997498) | about 2 years ago | (#40741037)

Dang. Was hoping for option #3, the Intrusion Countermeasure Executable engine.

Ahh well.

Stupid monkeys....

Cue the lobbys... (1)

yodleboy (982200) | about 2 years ago | (#40739579)

In the coming weeks lobbyists from the car wash industry, every organization that does a fund raiser car wash and probably from that guy on the street corner that will wash your entire car with Windex for $2 will be decrying this terrible innovation in auto paint. This stuff will lead to nano apocalypse, lost revenue and general dissatisfaction with life. Someone think of the children too!

Re:Cue the lobbys... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 years ago | (#40740443)

Fund raiser car washes... you just have to do them like this [wordpress.com]

as for the guys who wash your windscreen and demand $2 later.. like having a clean windscreen is going to stop them.

Car washes not going anywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40739697)

Car washes certainly won't be going anywhere. There are a lot of non-painted/coated surfaces on a car that will still need to be cleaned. Not to mention interiors.

Tiresome Chore? (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 years ago | (#40739783)

also promises to free car owners of the tiresome chore of washing the car

Having children is also another way to accomplish this, albeit at much greater cost. Once I (and my siblings) turned 10, my parents never washed a vehicle again (until we left the house).

"Dad, can I watch TV?"
"No. Now go wash the car."

Re:Tiresome Chore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40743087)

You obviously don't have kids of your own yet.

"Dad, can I watch TV?"

"No. Now go wash the car."

"Psssh." *pulls out smartphone and goes to Youtube.*

Re:Tiresome Chore? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 years ago | (#40744703)

You obviously don't have kids of your own yet.

I do - A boy and a girl.

"Psssh." *pulls out smartphone and goes to Youtube.*

"Hey Dad, my smartphone has stopped working."
"Yeah, I cut it off."
"What?!?! Why?!?!"
"You blew me off when I told you to go wash the car. Now go cut the lawn."

Re:Tiresome Chore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40745729)

Great parenting, oh yes.

Re:Tiresome Chore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40749703)

Someone is jealous that another has it figured out!

In the end, I'll choose your parent's kid as a co-worker over your's by far.

How about putting this coating on aircraft wings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40739843)

Having a surface that's ultra hydrophobic / resistant to dirt would seem to make sense to keep aircraft from icing up.

There will always be a market for car washing (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#40740115)

That market consists of men who want to watch girls in bikini's get lathered up and sprayed down.

Re:There will always be a market for car washing (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | about 2 years ago | (#40740321)

I suppose you've never lived in a place where they dump salt on the roads in the winter?

Around here EVERYONE shows up at the car wash on a warm spring day.

no way (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | about 2 years ago | (#40740277)

what about:

- dead bugs

- tree sap

- particles of hot patch

there is no possible way to keep these things from sticking. These things require physical scraping and nasty solvents to remove, even from a brand new shiny slick paint finish.

IBM had a similar coating on the Thinkpads (2)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 years ago | (#40740731)

They coated the outside of the laptop with it, giving it a slightly rubbery/felt-like texture. Whereas regular plastic laptop lids picked up scratches from being slid in and out of cases, on the Thinkpad you could simply rub these scratches out. Dunno of Lenovo still uses it. I first learned of it when I complained to a friend that my Thinkpad had picked up a lot of scratches over the years. He told me about the coating, so I spent about 15 minutes rubbing and it looked nearly as good as new.

I mention this before the Apple fans start claiming Apple "pioneered" the use of such coatings in computers.

Re:IBM had a similar coating on the Thinkpads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40741653)

Dunno of Lenovo still uses it.

They do!

self cleaning car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40740929)

Wow, that's great. Will it work on my dog too so I don't have to give him a bath? j/k

Okay, that's neat but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40745023)

Where's my FLYING car?!? Stop wasting time with paints that fix themselves or wash themselves, or even with cars that drive themselves, (okay that last one's kinda cool...) start working on making it so I don't have to sit in my scratched, dirty, non-self-driving car IN TRAFFIC!!!

1/8 of the 21st century is already gone, and you still have to stay on the ground when driving! WTF!?! Come on, guys... get it together already!

I have another solution (1)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#40745277)

I just let my car remain dirty. In addition to being easier, this leaves a protective layer of dirt covering the paint film. (I do remove bird droppings, however)

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