July 22, 2014

McLaren plan to make windscreen wipers obsolete

McLaren are planning to make windscreen wipers obsolete with plans to use a high frequency electronic system to clear windscreens in cars.

Photo McLaren plan to make windscreen wipers obsolete

McLaren plan to make windscreen wipers obsolete

Much of the ‘clunkiness’ in cars – stuff like wind-up windows and a cranking handle – have been made obsolete in cars as technology arrived to make things work better, but one thing that remains on modern cars from the dawn of the motoring age is the windscreen wiper.

Invented by Mary Anderson in 1903 after she realised drivers of the first motor cars were having to lean out of the window in rainy conditions to see where they were going, it became a standard fitting on all cars within a few years.

Windscreen wipers have certainly improved over the years as technology has developed, but they’re still basically a strip of rubber moving across the windscreen to clear rain. But that looks set to change.

Frank Stephenson, McLaren’s Chief Designer, has told the Sunday Times that McLaren are close to developing a system that will do away with windscreen wipers altogether.

Frank said the idea comes from the military and, although he refused to go in to detail, it seems likely it will use an ultrasonic transducer on the screen to send 30kHz waves of ultrasound across the screen removing all debris – rain, snow and even insects – instantly.

It seems this isn’t science fiction, but a system McLaren hopes to be able to roll out in the next couple of years. And although it sounds expensive, it could actually be a lot cheaper to fit than a pair of wipers and their motors.

Clever stuff.

 

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