Tesla has applied to patent a new multi-band GPS antenna that it believes will be more precise for self-driving and navigation applications.
The automaker describes the new device in the abstract of the new patent application:
A multi-band antenna system is provided. The antenna system can be placed under and embedded within a glass exterior surface of a vehicle. Such an antenna system can include a capacitively coupled metallic element on or adjacent to the glass exterior surface, which can serve as both a parasitic element to enhance gain and as a heating element to melt snow and/or ice accumulation over the glass area that covers the antenna. In certain applications, the antenna’s structure itself can be used as a heater to improve performance in adverse weather conditions while the heating elements are positioned away from the thermally sensitive electronics. The antenna system with integrated heating can include a spiral antenna.
Here are a few images of the new antenna, which is located inside the rear mirror enclosure:
In its claims, Tesla argues that the design can produce a more precise antenna, while reduce power demand, noise, and cost.
The automaker also makes it clear that its GPS system wouldn’t be only used for navigation but also for self-driving applications:
GNSS antenna systems can be useful for providing Global Positioning System (GPS) signals and/or other signals to vehicle systems for different functions involving accurate location information. For example, signals received from a GNSS antenna can be combined with data from other sensors (e.g., ultrasonic sensors and/or cameras) to plan a route to take a vehicle to a target location, such as summoning the vehicle to the owner or another person. GNSS antenna systems can also be useful for other features that involve precise or general location information such as navigation, autopilot and other self-driving features, searching for nearby gas stations, restaurants, or businesses. GNSS antenna systems can also be useful for relaying precise or general location information for relaying pertinent information regarding the region and local advertisements.
Tesla lists 10 inventors on the patent: Anand Konanur, Shreya Singh, Richard Breden, Yasutaka Horiki, Aycan Erentok, George Zucker, Nagarjun Bhat, Rui Moreira, Aydin Nabovati, and Rishabh Bhandari.