Deathwatch: Windscreen wipers

16 December 2013

car Windscreen wipers could soon by a thing of the past thanks to a new system that creates vibrations to shake the rain and debris off your window as you drive.

The McLaren Group (Formula 1 cars, etc) are planning to get rid of wipers with new technology swiped from fighter jets which basically uses high-frequency sound waves to budge muck.

In effect, the frequencies create a force field so that small things are repelled from your screen. Not only that, by eliminating the weight of wiper motors, a car's fuel efficiency would be improved too. And you wouldn't have problems with wipers welding themselves to the glass in cold weather.

This system will appear in McLaren's cars as of 2015. While initially it looks like it'll only appear on supercars, you can assume they'll want to make money on the patent by selling the technology to other car manufacturers.

"The obvious way of doing it is to have an ultrasonic transducer in the corner of the windscreen that would excite waves at around 30kHz to bounce across the windscreen," said Paul Wilcox, professor of ultrasonics at Bristol University's faculty of engineering.

"You would not be able to see anything moving because the amplitude of vibration would be at the nanometre level," he added.

Back in the 80s, Japan's Motoda Electronics Company patented an ultrasonic windscreen wiper system, but that didn't go into production, so we'll just have to see if there's a lawsuit or anything.

TOPICS:   Motoring   High Street News


  • Han S.
    "Not only that, by eliminating the weight of wiper motors, a car’s fuel efficiency would be improved too" - Probably get another 20mpg, those things weigh about a tonne
  • ugly f.
    What would you know, you think a parsec is a unit of speed. You've been hanging round with too many muppets.
  • ipeters
    Sounds like an over engineered solution for most cars. Much like the NASA pen that can be used to write in zero gravity; a pencil has many of the same benefits at just a tiny bit lower cost...
  • thecresta
    NASA introduced 'zero-gravity' pens as an alternative to pencils in order to to eliminate the risk of small conductive lead fragments getting into electrical equipment.
  • ipeters
    @thecresta interesting; did'nt know that...
  • Gran
    Ooh! Whatever will they think of next?!
  • GB
    @ugly joe As everyone knows, Han was correct in his parsec statement. Because he could pilot the Millennium Falcon closer to a Black Hole than other vessels, he was able to cut down the distance it took to travel. It's true because I read it on the internet.
  • Dick
    @thecresta Pencils don't have lead in them. It's the graphite that is a problem.
  • Han S.
    @GB I believe he's talking about an article Mof 'wrote' as I've never commented on Parsecs
  • Han S.
    Well when you put it like that...
  • The S.
    No, he isn't.
  • james d.
    Ultrasonic transducer may sound fancy and expensive, but it's actually just a speaker.
  • james d.
    anyway, what if you got showered with thick mud, we will still need backup wipers.
  • LL J.
    If a company took out a patent in the 80s then it has expired now, duh.

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