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McLaren is replacing windshield wipers with ultrasonic force field from jets

Written by Nick Jaynes Posted on December 19, 2013

I’m a car guy who loves working on his own car. And although I love do-it-yourself repairs, I hate changing windshield wipers.

No matter how many times I do it – and I do it often because I live in rainy Portland, Oregon – I struggle with it every time. One time, I even left the wiper-less wiper arm suspended at full extension and it slammed down, shattering my windshield.

You’d imagine my delight, then, when I learned this week that supercar and hypercar-maker, McLaren is working on replacing windshield wipers with an ultrasonic force field.

Sound too crazy to be real? Well, turns out, jetfighters already use a similar system to keep the cockpit domes clear of rain and bug guts.

Here’s how Digital Trends describes the technology: “An ultra-sonic transducer is attached to the windscreen that produces incredibly high frequency sound waves – not even audible to bats. These sound waves in turn create miniscule vibrations which shake water, dirt, bugs, and possibly parking tickets loose from the windscreen.”

Not only is this tech seriously cool, it also improves aerodynamics. Before the implementation of a force field, McLaren has been stuck with using an awkward-looking mono-wiper. Even though one creates less turbulence than two, it still creates more than none. Plus, throwing the wiper arm and wiper motor into the parts bin saves weight, albeit minimal. In the pursuit of power, though, every ounce counts.

So my hat is off to the Brits over at race-obsessed McLaren for solving the one problem most people didn’t know existed. Now I just need to figure out how to work this system onto my Toyota Land Cruiser … hmm.