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.