McLaren may be the first manufacturer to eliminate the need for windscreen wiper blades, with reports the British supercar manufacturer is developing a system reliant on sound waves.
UK media reports McLaren is designing a system adapted from fighter jets to replace current windscreen wiper technology that dates back to the early 1900s.
The Sunday Times reports the technology is expected to rely on high-frequency sound waves to effectively create a force field that will repel water, insects, mud and other debris.
Along with claimed improvements in visibility and aerodynamics, McLaren reportedly says the technology will also result in improved fuel economy due to the weight reduction associated with eliminating wiper motors. The system would also make wiper blades freezing to glass in cold climates a thing of the past.
With the technology reportedly nearing production-ready form, the wiperless windscreen could potentially debut in the upcoming P13 supercar slated for a 2015 launch.
McLaren Automotive design director Frank Stephenson told the publication the technology is already used by the military, however, is being kept under wraps.
“It took a lot of effort to get this out of a source in the military,” Stephenson said.
“I asked why you don’t see wipers on some aircraft when they are coming in at very low speeds for landing. I was told that it’s not a coating on the surface but a high frequency electronic system that never fails and is constantly active.”
Claiming the technology is “very cost effective” and will result in nothing attaching to the cars’ windscreens, Stephenson said he would not mourn the demise of wipers.
“The windscreen wiper is an archaic piece of technology,” he said.
“We’ve had them since cars began and it’s one of the last bastions of design to overcome. Somebody has to take the first step and I think it will be McLaren.”
Mary Anderson, a property developer from Alabama, is credited with inventing the windscreen wiper in 1903.