ATLANTA, Ga. – A tech start-up has developed a windshield washer heating system that can provide better windshield cleaning, de-icing and defrosting.
Seeva Technologies showed its SeevaTherm system for the first time March 4 at the Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations’ annual meetings. The small tubular system uses waste heat generated by the engine to heat the windshield washer fluid to up to 140 F.
The SeevaTherm heats windshield washer fluid for better visibility.
It was the answer to a problem Navistar was dealing with on behalf of a customer, as the New York State Department of Transportation was having difficulties keeping the windshields on its snowplow trucks free of ice and snow. Snow and ice was also interfering with ventilation and affecting the truck’s ability to defrost the windshield. Navistar learned about the SeevaTherm and bought its entire first production run. About 500 New York State snowplows are now fitted with the technology.
But Seeva has its eye on more widespread usage in the passenger car and commercial vehicle spaces, especially as autonomous vehicles become more prevalent. Diane Lansinger, who co-founded the company with her father, said the heated washer fluid can be plumbed throughout vehicles to where cameras and LIRA radar sensors are located for active safety and autonomous vehicle systems. A small hose can be run along the wiring harnesses to carry fluid to these locations, including backup cameras.
Visibility is vital, said Lansinger, as camera and radar-based safety systems continue to be deployed.
“Cars can’t see when their visibility systems are dirty,” she explained. “We have five other products in different stages of development that all help cars and trucks see better.”
Bugs, snow, ice, mud and dirt can all obstruct the effectiveness of cameras and radar, Lansinger said, noting that wiping the lens clean on these cameras can cause scratches.
Lansinger said installation is simple and can be done in about 15 minutes. The SeevaTherm is offered currently in the aftermarket, but Navistar will be adding it to its databook in the future. The company is also in discussion with other truck manufacturers.
So far, all deployment has been with the New York State plow fleet.
“Drivers said it worked and they didn’t have to stop and pull over to take ice off the washer blades,” said Lansinger. “There is no snow condensing anymore on the exterior of the windshields and they have better defrosting.”
Seeva has already developed a second version of its system, which is smaller, lighter, and more efficient. Instead of completely defrosting a windshield in three to four minutes, the new version can now do it in less than one minute. It produces 7,500 watts of power. The truck version has an MSRP of about US$189.
Seeva has captured the attention of some venture capitalists, who have funded the organization to the tune of US$2.1 million.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies