146099284 – corona virus cells with warning street tape

According to a May 17 article in USA Today, car companies are investigating ways to virus-proof their vehicles to win customers concerned about infectious diseases once the coronavirus pandemic fades. Ideas under consideration include blasting car interiors with ultraviolet light, using foggers to spray disinfectants, having upgraded air filtration systems and employing antimicrobial materials.

A third of car buyers recently told Cox Automotive they are more likely to consider air quality features for their next vehicle than before COVID-19. In a five-country survey, 80% of respondents in the U.S., China, Japan, Germany and Italy told consultant IHS Markit they’d be willing to pay extra disinfecting systems.

A Michigan tech company has begun making UVC lights to sterilize the inside of ambulances, police cars and other emergency vehicles. UVA light is a component of the natural sunlight we’re exposed to daily. Shorter wavelength UVC is more toxic, but normally screened out by the Earth’s atmosphere. It can be produced by artificial lights and arc welders. It’s a technology that scientists have been working on for some time, although COVID-19 has prioritized it.

The demand in mass transit and For-Hire Vehicles (FHVs) is obviously more significant to many travelers.

“Recent events have directed us to investigate additional technologies for improving cabin air for our heating and air-conditioning systems. We’re also looking at antimicrobial materials and easily-cleanable surfaces for our interiors,” a Fiat Chrysler spokesperson said.

“COVID-19 will prompt more focus on air filtration and, perhaps, on more segregated climate zones in the cockpit, features there was already movement toward,” said Eric Noble of product development consultant The Carlab.

UV light can’t be used when people are in the vehicle, but its sterilizing effect is cumulative. It would apply short bursts every time the vehicle is empty work, with a full cleaning between shifts or at the end of the day. The lights can be integrated into headliners or existing lighting systems.

Irradiating air in the climate control system’s ducts is another possibility. Motion sensors and thermometers can determine the vehicle is empty and ready for irradiation.

Fogging systems that spray hydrogen peroxide or other disinfectants into the cabin air are other candidates, and another system that would require occupant detection for safety.

Supplier Magna is evaluating an ozone-generating system it used to disinfect personal protective equipment for automotive use.

Lear makes antimicrobial leather and fabrics that resist viruses, bacteria, mold and fungus.

Antimicrobial treatments don’t necessarily remain effective as long as most vehicles stay in use, though. Buyers should find out how long the protection they pay for will last, if it can be renewed, and how much that costs.

Digital payments for gas, food and electric charging can eliminate physical contact with credit card readers and payment counters other customers have touched. Lear’s Xevo Market and General Motors’ Marketplace allow you to pay for goods remotely.

General Motors has also created a program for its dealers to clean their facilities and vehicles to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.

“We know that our customers’ expectations have changed and that more will need to be done to meet those expectations,” said Barry Engle, president of GM North America. “Our engineering, service and sales teams have worked closely with our dealer network to develop a program that follows best practices regarding the delivery of new, used or serviced vehicles.

Source: USA Today

Article by Michele Norton
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