Published December 16, 2013
The reign of the windshield wiper could be coming to an end.
The McLaren automobile company is working on a vibrating windscreen designed to clear away water and debris, The Sunday Times reports.
McLaren chief designer Frank Stephenson says the design is based on fighter plane technology that uses high frequency sound waves to repel rain, bugs and other potential obstructions.
The windshield wiper was invented in 1903, and the concept has changed very little since its introduction.
Originally a hand-cranked device, electric motors were soon added, but major advancements since have been limited to intermittent systems and rain-sensing capabilities, none of which has affected the basic idea of the wiper blade itself.
By removing traditional wipers, the aerodynamics of a vehicle can be improved and its weight reduced.
But while it sounds very advanced, one expert tells the Times that it could require only a small transducer to send 30 kHz sound waves across the glass and cost as little as $15 per car.
No word on when it will be put into production, or details if it would work effectively at low speeds or just on the highway and racetracks, but the first cars that use it aren't likely to be cheap.
McLaren's current lineup of supercars runs from around $230,000 to $1.15 million, although it is working on one said to be in the $125,000 range.