The latest car part to hit the scrap heap could be the trusty old windscreen wiper, if plans by the automotive experts at McLaren come into effect.
When being interviewed by The Sunday Times, Frank Stephenson, chief designer at McLaren didn’t mince his words whilst discussing the humble wipers:
“The windscreen wiper is an archaic piece of technology. We’ve had them since cars began and it’s one of the last bastions of design to overcome.”
He most definitely has a point. As everyone knows wiper blades have a rather short life expectancy which causes them to become annoyingly ineffective for clearing even the lightest of rain from your windscreen and instead prove effective in smearing smears and grime across the glass. This may seem like just a mere irritation and inconvenience but it can in fact severely reduce visibility in glare or low light conditions which could be potentially dangerous possibly leading to accidents and avoidable car insurance claims.
Wondering what the alternative is? Stephenson has claimed that the military not only have the technology to do away with windscreen wipers but have had it for years! (As fighter jets require something with less drag and more reliability than a typical windscreen wiper), and they have apparently been keeping this information under wraps. But McLaren may have now discovered their secret.
During the interview Stephenson refused to give too much away but the system seems to include high frequency sound waves keeping the windscreen in a constant state of vibration. These movements would be undetectable by humans, but would keep the windscreen clean by preventing both liquids and solids (dirt, bugs, dust) from sticking to the windscreen.
While windscreen wipers need constant replacement, Stephenson has suggested that this new idea “never fails and is constantly active.”
If this development goes ahead as planned, the new screen cleaners will be appearing on Mclaren’s supercars by 2015, so we will hopefully be seeing them adapted for the more affordable manufacturers soon after!
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