Buy any car today, regardless of make, model, or cost, and they'll all have one thing in common: windshield wipers. They are a necessity, both by law and the fact you need them to be able to drive safely when it is raining. But if McLaren has its way, we could soon see cars that no longer require them.
McLaren is best known for its Formula One racing team, but it also produces performance sports cars. Having the odd novel feature does nothing to hurt sales, and it looks like in the next couple of years one of those features could be a lack of windshield wipers.
Frank Stephenson is McLaren's chief designer and has hinted at a new system to replace the wipers. It is thought to involve using ultrasound to send 30kHz waves across the windshield, which would keep it clear of any debris, even those really horrible insect remains that can build up and obstruct your view.
How does it stop such debris? By creating a force field that stops rain, snow, or insects ever reaching the windshield. If they can't touch it, then the glass will remain clean and clear.
A lack of wipers brings with it multiple benefits to the driver. For one, no wipers means less things to break, so no more regular wiper changes. You also aren't scraping rubber across glass repeatedly so the driver will always have a better view and the glass will require less cleaning. There's also thought to be a fuel saving, however small, due to the lack of wiper apparatus interfering with airflow over the vehicle. And the final benefit: total confusion for anyone trying to clamp a flyer underneath one of your wiper blades.
If the sound wave force field works as well as described, expect multiple car manufacturers to be licensing the tech from McLaren ASAP. It's a great feature with which to market a new vehicle, and one that will surely be offered with a hefty premium attached to the price.
Now read: Michael Schumacher tries to crash a Mercedes C-Class. Fails.
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