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Kevin O’Connor

Axalta Coating Systems

The Role of Automotive Exterior Coatings in Autonomous Vehicle Sensor Detection


As the automotive industry continues towards higher levels of automation, sensors will play a greater role in detecting the external environment. Automotive exterior coatings must facilitate the implementation of these sensors. Two types of sensors will require attention from the coatings industry—radar and LiDAR. Axalta realizes that proper consideration of the interaction between these sensors and the vehicle’s coatings is critical to the coating development process.

In this talk, we will examine how infrared and radar radiation interact with different coating systems. We will also discuss testing methodology and the relative performance of coatings with both conventional and effect colorants. Finally, we will review formulation techniques for maximizing radar and LiDAR detectability.


Kevin is the Director of Global Product Management at Axalta Coating Systems. He joined Axalta in 2017 after spending much of his career in the coatings and building materials industries. Prior to joining Axalta, Kevin worked as an Application Technology Manager at DSM Engineering Plastics (MI, US) leading a team of scientists responsible for finding novel applications for high performance plastics. Kevin spent most of his career working for Guardian Glass (MI, US) in roles of increasing responsibility from Chemist to R&D Group Leader and finally to Director of Global R&D Project Management. Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Windsor (ON, CA) and an MBA from Michigan State University (MI, US).