The windscreen wiper is a simple yet brilliant invention that has remained largely unchanged for 100 years. Since Mary Anderson invented them in 1903, wipers have allowed us to drive our cars safely when it rains or snows. However, to an innovation-driven company like McLaren Automotive, windscreen wipers are a bit old fashioned.
McLaren is reportedly designing a system adapted from fighter jets to keep the windscreen clear in bad weather. The system is said to use high-frequency sound waves similar to those used by dentists to remove plaque from patients’ teeth. The carmaker is developing it for its new supercar expected to launch in 2015 – most likely the P13.
“It took a lot of effort to get this out of a source in the military. I asked why you don't see wipers on some aircraft on when they are coming in at very low levels for landing. I was told that it’s not a coating on the surface but a high frequency electronic system that never fails and is constantly active. Nothing will attach to the windscreen,” Stephenson said.
According to Paul Wilcox, professor of ultrasonics at Bristol University’s faculty of engineering, the simple way to do it would be “to have an ultrasonic transducer in the corner of the windscreen that would excite waves at around 30kHz to bounce across the windscreen.”
It doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all: the absence of wipers will make cars more aerodynamic and lighter too, as there would be no need for the motor that moves them.
Thanks to Frisco for the tip!
By Dan Mihalascu