Aerodynamic efficiency is the key to improving a car's performance – whether you're talking about how fast it can go or how little fuel it can consume. That's why automakers (exotic supercar manufacturers especially) are constantly trying to streamline their products – closing panel gaps, developing adaptive aerodynamic aids and even eliminating superfluous appendages altogether.

The latest is McLaren, which wants to remove even the single wiper blade that clears droplets and debris off its expansive windshields in favor of a more high-tech solution. Its system, similar to those used on jet aircraft, would use an high-frequency ultrasonic transducer to clear the surface of the windshield, eliminating the need for a drag-producing wiper arm and blade – not to mention eliminating the weight of the motor as well.

It strikes us as a good idea, but even if McLaren were to perfect it, that doesn't mean it would be put into production overnight. The British automaker would still have to get DOT approvals from government regulators around the world, which might not come easy on something as fundamentally integral to safety as a windshield wiper. Just look at all those concept cars with side-view cameras and then at the drag-inducing side mirrors on your car and you'll see what we mean. But with companies like Audi using cameras to replace mirrors on their racecars, we wouldn't be surprised to see a wiperless 12C GT3 lapping the racetrack in the near future.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      ChaosphereIX
      • 1 Year Ago
      how would this system handle mud, salt, debris, etc.? Can sound waves remove dried salt out of my vision? Think wipers will be on cars for some time to come...
        Bernard
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        Too easy, 1000 watt woofers plus Skrillex and that the mud is gone! And so are the windows...
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Usually, vibration makes a surface more wet.
      Drakkon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dogs and hamster everywhere are protesting.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        John
        • 11 Months Ago
        No, I think this article is incorrect. I don't know of any aircraft that uses the system mentioned. Commercial jets usually only use wipers when they are taxiing but not when they are flying. Commercial jets, while they are flying, use a Pneumatic system that takes "bleed air" from the engine and blows it across the windscreen. This air forms a sort of barrier that keeps rain off of the surface. But the most popular option is to use a chemical repellent. The repellent causes the water to bead up, the air blowing past the aircraft does the rest. Jet fighter aircraft use the repellent to keep the canopy clear of water.
      Technoir
      • 1 Year Ago
      In the future we'll look back and laugh at side view mirrors and windshield wipers.
      Autoholics Anonymous
      I hope they will be successful in a solution that can be as good if not better than most of the high end wiper blade that are on the market. Things like RainX mixed in with the washer fluid already helps my current commute when it comes to lite/moderate rain but it can only do so much without a good wiper(s).
      superchan7
      • 1 Year Ago
      May I suggest McLaren contact Infiniti and ask how they got approval for steer-by-wire, and one that isn't even reliable if the recent recall is anything to go by.
      Israel Isassi
      • 1 Year Ago
      It must be possible since Star Trek had sonic showers.
      Mike Pulsifer
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wouldn't this feature combined with a chip in the windshield lead to a disaster?
      dimcorner
      • 1 Year Ago
      I drove a 92 Toyota Soarer and it had ultrasonic side mirror cleaners. Neatest thing ever!
      Wetstuff
      • 1 Year Ago
      ... with just a dash of Rain-X. Jim
      no1bondfan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Perhaps they will go with the sound of "nagging wife." That could get anything to jump off the car and into traffic.
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