Anyone who's ever driven in a southern thunderstorm knows that windshield wipers suck. They smear water more than they remove it, and, my God, is that "whip-flick" sound annoying.
Well, worry no more. McLaren says it's doing away with wipers altogether in favour of fighter jet technology that keeps windshields clean. The British supercar company isn't revealing too many details, but experts have a pretty good idea of how the new system will work. The fighter jet technology to which McLaren is referring is likely a high-frequency electronic system that pumps sound waves through the windshield, effectively creating a vibrating ultrasonic force field that deflects water, mud, and even bugs.
"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," McLaren design chief Frank Stephenson told The Sunday Times. "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." One ultrasonics professor said he thinks this means attaching "an ultrasonic transducer in the corner of the windscreen."
If that sounds wildly futuristic and out of your reach, don't be too hasty. The same system that will go on McLaren's $US250,000 sports cars by 2015 could be available for the rest of us for as little as $US15 on mass market vehicles within a few years. And just think of all the money you'll save on wiper blades. [Sunday Times via Daily Mail]
Image via Flickr / flakeparadigm