Canatu partners with Covestro for LiDAR deicing

VANTAA Finland, November 29th, 2022 — Carbon nanomaterial developer Canatu and a world’s leading manufacturer of polymer materials and components Covestro, will showcase a joint LiDAR heater demonstrator at the Canatu booth 4271 / West Hall during CES 2023. The companies are bringing together world-leading expertise in flexible transparent film heaters, thermoplastic polymers and film insert molding processing to showcase a state-of-the-art LiDAR cover lens with heating functionality that is highly performant, versatile, and ready for scale-up.

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems are critical in the development of autonomous driving. They are used to detect objects and measure distances. However, the reliability of LiDAR through harsh weather conditions is a key challenge. Buildup of ice, snow, or fog on LiDAR cover lens can block the sensor field of view (FOV) risking accurate 3D LiDAR mapping. The jointly realized heated cover lens keeps the LiDAR FOV clear of weather disturbances, advancing autonomous driving in any weather.

“With the trend for electric mobility and assisted driving comes the need for an ever higher degree of functionality for exterior components. To maintain the data quality of front module integrated sensors under all conditions is becoming a paramount requirement. Canatu offers a technology that we think is a very promising candidate for tackling this challenge.”

Dr. Maximilian Hemgesberg, Segment Manager Mobility Specialty Films, EMEA & LATAM, of Covestro.

“By combining Covestro’s highly developed expertise in optical-grade polymers with Canatu’s unique CNT film heater technology, we have jointly developed a functionalized LIDAR cover lens combining high optical properties and effective heating. Together, we are enabling ADAS in any weather without compromising on safety, performance, and functionality,” says Tero Tolonen, Chief Product Officer of Canatu.

The Canatu LiDAR heater offers extremely high transmittance at near infrared light combined with extraordinary high heating performance and processing ability. Canatu film heaters are entirely wire-free at LiDAR FOV enabling even, fast, and power-efficient deicing across the whole surface without optical distortion or laser beam deflection. The Canatu LiDAR heater is fabricated on Covestro Makrofol® polycarbonate (PC) film, which offers high heat resistance, LiDAR transparency and 3D formability. The cover lens is made using Covestro Makrolon® AG polycarbonate, which is extremely robust, laser transparent, available in various colors and ideal for high-precision lens molding.  

Download technical data

Download brochure to learn more on the state-of-the-art transparent film heater for LiDAR.

The entire LiDAR cover lens has been fabricated by film insert molding (FIM) process. FIM enables one-step fabrication of plastic components with decorated and functional surfaces. During the process, the Canatu LiDAR heater is shaped and trimmed before being placed in an injection mold and back injected with a thermoplastic resin. FIM eliminates the need for separate steps that would otherwise be required to decorate or functionalize plastic components.

The final molded part is LiDAR permeable and wire-free, providing undistorted FOV for the laser beam to create an accurate 3D LiDAR mapping of the surroundings. The performance of the final molded part can be further supported by applying functional coatings, such as anti-reflective (AR) or hard coating (HR) on the back and front surfaces. Canatu LiDAR heaters can be flexibly tailored to meet customer heating, optical, and design requirements across a range of input voltages.

Mari Makkonen
VP Marketing & Communications, Canatu
Tel. +358 504 422 343

Dr. Maximilian Hemgesberg
Segment Manager Mobility, Specialty Films EMEA & LATAM, Covestro
+49 173 268 7254

Download images:

Film insert molded LiDAR heater using Canatu CNT and Covestro Makrofol® and Makrolon®.
Layer-by-layer assembly of the LiDAR heater. Canatu CNT film heater is implemented on the back side and decorative printing on the front side of the Covestro Makrofol® polycarbonate foil. LiDAR cover lens is made using Covestro Makrolon® AG polycarbonate resin.

Send a message

About Canatu
Canatu is a carbon nanomaterial developer creating the most advanced carbon nanotubes for industry-transforming products. The Canatu carbon nanotube (CNT) technology has been created with a unique process that ensures the required versatility and reliability for highly engineered solutions. Canatu partners with forerunner companies, together transforming products for better tomorrows with nano carbon. The company’s focus is in the automotive and semiconductor industries with the portfolio’s core spanning from ADAS heaters to 3D touch sensors and to EUV membranes. The experts at Canatu think big and create impacts on the tiniest scale – nano solutions for massive impact. Canatu’s headquarters are in Finland with sales offices also in the US, Japan, and Taiwan.

About Covestro
Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics, and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.

The company is committed to becoming fully circular and is striving to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of EUR 15.9 billion in fiscal 2021. At the end of 2021, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 17,900 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).