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Windshield wipers? Pff, McLaren’s using an ultrasonic force field from jets

When you want to go really, really fast, things get complicated. At speeds of 200 mph air has the consistency of Jell-O, and that means that every detail of your car’s aerodynamics matter. That’s why the most anal and focused carmaker, McLaren, wants to get rid of windshield wipers altogether.

So, how do you replace windshield wipers? The Sunday Times reports that McLaren wants to use a force-field … made of sound.

Seem a bit too sci-fi to be real? Well here’s how it works, at least according to someone who hasn’t taken a science class in seven years: 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.

The technology already exists; in fact, it’s used on aircraft. In particular, it is used on the bubble canopies of some very modern jet fighters.

I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that there are actually more practical windshield wiper replacements out there, but someone at McLaren just wanted the cars more like fighter jets.

Even if that is the case, the force-field technology offers improved aerodynamics – not to mention the weight savings from eliminating the wiper and its motor.

This wouldn’t be the first time that technology has been used to eliminate traditional car necessities in the pursuit of aerodynamics. Audi replaced its racecar’s mirrors with cameras several years ago, to eliminate undesirable airflow patterns.

So what’s next in the quest to eliminate all obstacles in the pursuit of speed? My guess is people. After all, we aren’t very aerodynamic at all. 

Peter Braun
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Peter is a freelance contributor to Digital Trends and almost a lawyer. He has loved thinking, writing and talking about cars…
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