Windshield technology just got smarter thanks to ProActive Wipers

Car rain sensors are smart things. The most common ones work using an infrared beam that is directed onto the windshield from inside the car. When the glass is wet, less light is bounced back to the sensor, which triggers the wipers turning on.

However, they don’t work in every scenario.

“Most of us have experienced that scary moment when you’re trying to overtake a heavy truck on the highway under wet conditions,” Magnus Carlsson, head of autonomous driving at Swedish tech product development company Semcon, told Digital Trends. “When that happens, you sometimes get a splash on your windscreen, and it obscures your vision for a period of time. That’s something today’s car rain sensors can’t do anything about. They only act when they detect there’s water already on the windshield.”

What Semcon has developed is a new piece of software for windshield wipers called ProActive Wipers (PAW). Using the camera, radar and rain sensors built into most modern cars, it figures out when large vehicles present a risk for sudden water splashes and gets your wipers ready. The camera detects possible threats and the radar figures out proximity, with the combined information then switching your wipers to maximum speed in advance.

The result? No more terrifying moment of blindness when your windshield is obscured by water.

smart windshield wipers rain proactive spray zone

“If it’s raining hard already, it’s not such a problem because you have the wipers activated,” Carlsson, who invented the technology, continued. “The best use-case for this would be if it’s been raining and isn’t anymore, or it’s raining slightly, but the road is still very wet. That’s when you can run into problems.”

The feature has already been evaluated under real conditions and the software could easily be implemented in today’s cars — provided a company is interested in adopting the smart tech. You’re unlikely to see this technology arrive for at least the next year, but it’s a feature we eagerly anticipate.

In the meantime, we’ll make sure to drive extra vigilantly on wet days.

Emerging Tech

Who will be the first private passenger to the moon? SpaceX will tell us today

SpaceX is set to announce the name of the mystery passenger who it will launch into orbit around the moon. This will be the first lunar traveler since the last U.S. Apollo mission in 1972.

Here’s our list of the best weather apps for the iPhone

Don't just rely on your local meteorologist to stay up to date on the weather. Take matters into your own hands with these picks for the best weather apps for the iPhone, including the best visuals and most comprehensive data.
Smart Home

Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure: Which one is right for you?

Thanks to the advance of technology, it's become really easy nowadays to secure your home and protect it from thieves, intruders, and unwanted guests. Which one of these two top contenders is right for you?
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene editing creates cocaine-proof mice, aims to crack addiction puzzle

Scientists from the University of Chicago have used CRISPR gene editing to create cocaine-resistant mice by modifying the DNA of skin cells. Here's how the breakthrough skin graft works.
Emerging Tech

Japanese billionaire faces tricky task of choosing 8 artists for his moon trip

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has been named as SpaceX's first-ever paying passenger for a trip to the moon in 2023. He says he wants to take eight artists with him. But how will he choose them? And will they accept?
Emerging Tech

SpaceX to send Japanese billionaire on moon trip, but he won’t be going alone

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has named Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa as the first paying passenger for the company's ambitious 2023 moon mission aboard the Big Falcon Rocket.
Emerging Tech

Smart sound system will give every car passenger their own wireless audio stream

Can't agree on what to listen to in the car? Imagine if each passenger could get their own way, courtesy of a personal audio stream — no headphones required. Sounds impossible, but it's almost here.
Emerging Tech

Crazy vending machine swaps computer art for your permanent selfie

Coder artist Matthias Dörfelt's camera-equipped vending machine swaps unique prints of computer-generated faces for the rights to upload your selfie onto the main Ethereum blockchain.
Emerging Tech

No more scraping? Anti-frosting advance could mark end of frozen windshields

Hate frozen windshields in winter? Researchers at Virginia Tech may have found a way to banish them for good, thanks to the world’s first passive anti-frosting surface. Here's how it works.
Smart Home

Who needs Stitch Fix? Maison Me uses A.I. to custom design clothing just for you

With backing from Google, a new Silicon Valley-based startup called Maison Me is offering A.I.-assisted, designed-to-order clothing. It's like a personal styling service on steroids.
Emerging Tech

Swiss researcher offers blueprints for animal-friendly autonomous machines

A scientist worries that our high-tech future fails to consider the well-being of other creatures: "Machine ethics has so far concentrated almost exclusively on automatic actions that affect people."
Emerging Tech

The Flamethrower Diet is better than keto and I burned all this food to prove it

When I first caught word that Elon Musk's Boring Company was selling a fully-functional flamethrower, I knew right away that I wanted to use it as a replacement for all of my modern cooking appliances. Why use a microwave when you can use a…