After over a century using the same basic design, windshield wipers are getting an overhaul.
McLaren Group, one of the most advanced automotive companies and Formula 1 car designers in the U.K., is adapting a high-frequency sound wave system for use as a force field covering car windshields. Aiming to replace traditional rubber blades that have – in effect – been around since Mary Anderson invented them in 1903, the new technology should provide numerous benefits in addition to better visibility during stormy weather.
The system, which uses ultrasound technology similar to that used by medical professionals, is being modeled off existing technology used to clear the windshields of fighter jets and the hulls of U.S. Naval ships. The high-frequency waves create vibrations on the surface of the windshield that bounce off water, insects, and other debris for clearer visibility.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Frank Stephenson, McLaren’s chief designer, also said that the system eliminates the need for a wiper motor, improves aerodynamics, cuts fuel costs, and is an “electronic system that never fails.”
While this force field technology is in the works, it’s not likely to be ready for debut by McLaren before 2015.