A new wiper-free windshield is being developed by McLaren.
The annoying sound of windshield wipers may soon be a thing of the past. The car company, McLaren is designing a sports car that uses a system adapted from fighter jets to keep a driver’s vision clear in bad weather without the need for blades.
It is believed to involve high-frequency sound waves similar to those used by dentists for removing plaque from patients’ teeth.
The Formula One firm, based in Surrey, is developing the method for its new supercar, expected to roll off the production line in 2015.
F1 car maker McLaren is remaining tight-lipped on the plans and refusing to reveal how the system will work because it says rivals may steal the idea.
However, experts suggest it may make use of ultrasound to create tiny vibrations on the screen which would bounce off rain, insects and mud.
It would also improve visibility and prevent the problem drivers face when wiper blades freeze to the glass in cold weather.
The Woking-based firm’s chief designer Frank Stephenson told The Sunday Times that the system was already being used by the military.
‘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 windshield.’
The system is expected to be introduced to McLaren’s range of sportscars which cost between £170,000 and £870,000, but once perfected could be produced for the mass market for as little as £10.
Paul Wilcox, professor of ultrasonics at Bristol University’s faculty of engineering, told The Sunday Times: ‘The obvious way of doing it is to have an ultrasonic transducer in the corner of the windshield that would excite waves at around 30kHz to bounce across the windshield.’
Windshield wipers were invented in by the American property developer Mary Anderson who received a patent for her window cleaning device in 1903.
The invention came about during a trip to New York City. It was raining heavily and Mrs Anderson noticed that drivers had to open the windows of their cars in order to see out of them.
She wanted to find a solution and invented a swinging arm device with a rubber blade that was operated by the driver from within the vehicle using a lever.
At first the invention was highly critiqued as many claimed that the device would actually distract drivers, but by 1916 windshield wipers had become standard on most vehicles.
Via Daily Mail