Automotive & AI Patent News: Tesla, Avanci, Volvo, Ford and Qualcomm

Along with our “Why Startups Need Patents” and other news we start “Automotive and AI Patent News.” In automotive and AI patent news were Tesla, Avanci, Volvo, Ford and Qualcomm.

Tesla Laser-Focused on Cleaning Windows and Solar Panels

 

Tesla has filed a  patent for electromagnetic, rail-based wiper system. It is also called Pulsed Laser Cleaning of Debris Accumulated on Glass Articles in Vehicles and Photovoltaic Assemblies which means it could also be used to clean solar panels.  Solar panels have to remain clean to work therefore the patent could clean solar panels too.

“A cleaning system for a vehicle includes a beam optics assembly that emits a laser beam to irradiate a region on a glass article of the vehicle, debris detection circuitry that detects debris accumulated over the region, and control circuitry. The control circuitry calibrates a set of parameters associated with the laser beam emitted from the beam optics assembly based on detection of the debris accumulated over the region on the glass article, controls an exposure level of the laser beam on the debris accumulated based on calibration of the set of parameters associated with the laser beam, wherein the exposure level is controlled based on pulsing the laser beam at a calibrated rate that limits penetration of the laser beam to a depth that is less than a thickness of the glass article, and removes the debris accumulated over the region on the glass article using the laser beam.”

The big question if the laser will scrape off bugs. The laser wipers were in the news however there are several autonomous driving system patents that were also filed and pending.

Volvo Licenses Avanci

Avanci announced that it has signed a patent license agreement with Volvo Cars, increasing the total number of auto brands licensed through the Avanci marketplace to 14. By signing an agreement with Avanci, Volvo Cars receives licenses to the 2G, 3G, and 4G essential patents of the 36 patent owners that participate in the marketplace today, as well as patent owners that join Avanci in the future.

Avanci’s one-stop marketplace simplifies the way automotive companies provide connectivity by including license rights to the vast majority of cellular standard essential patents in a single agreement. By streamlining the process, Avanci is accelerating the growth of the Internet of Things by providing manufacturers of IoT products with an efficient and transparent way to access the wireless technology needed to bring their products and services to customers worldwide.

Ford Patents Battery Packs in Frame to Make Frame Lighter

According to a patent filed by Ford (15/980,910)  power storage modules are inside the frames of a truck. While the diagram shows two electric motors but text indicates up  use up to four motors to power each each wheel.

The crossmembers allow the batteries to be housed separate parts of the frame.”The added shear strength and structural stiffness provided by the bottom plate and center cross members can also permit the gauge or wall thickness of the left and right frame rails to be reduced from that of a typical body-on-frame vehicle.”

Qualcomm Anti-Trust Making Connected Cars Too Expensive

U.S. Federal Trade Commission reports that a court of law has found that Qualcomm engaged in illegal practices to rig the market in its favor. This is not just anticompetitive, but also an assault on our core values of fair competition in the economy. Qualcomm agreed to license its modem chips on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms when it was selected to be the industry standard. Rather than abiding by these terms, Qualcomm illegally exploited its position to maintain its modem chip monopoly. The company cut off competition by refusing to license to other chipmakers and then strong-armed licensees into paying excessive fees by imposing a “no license, no chip” requirement.

The FTC sued Qualcomm for abusing and distorting the competitive process with these illegal practices. This decision affirms that Qualcomm broke the law and sets the stage for jumpstarting competition in modem chip markets at a critical moment. Qualcomm’s customers and competitors will finally be able to negotiate licenses without the threat of having Qualcomm cut off their chip supply. It is not every day that government agencies take a powerful corporation like Qualcomm to trial. The FTC’s litigation team worked tirelessly to hold Qualcomm accountable, even working without pay during the trial that took place during the government shutdown. This decision lays the foundation for buyers of smartphones and other connected devices to see the benefits of competition for many years to come.

On November 25, the FTC filed a complaint in federal district court charging Qualcomm Inc. with using anticompetitive tactics to maintain its monopoly in the supply of a key semiconductor device used in cell phones and other consumer products.  Automaker organization, Continental and Denso filed claims about adverse effects of Qualcomm’s licensing practices.

The resulting inefficiency is ultimately borne by consumers in the form of higher prices,” filed the automotive related groups.

 

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