Force fields could replace car windshield wipers

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

McLaren racing
Wow, that windshield is spotless!

When you’re driving down a long stretch of road, racing over 200 mph, it’s important to be very aerodynamic – move easily through the air.

For British supercar company McLaren, something as tiny as windshield wipers can mean the difference between winning and losing a speed race, so they’ve decided to replace the pesky cleaners with something much more aerodynamic: a force field.

McLaren chief car designer Frank Stephenson recently had an interview with The Sunday Times, where he revealed a few details of how the force field would work. Apparently, a device called a transducer will send ultrasonic waves – similar to those of an ultrasound used with expecting mothers – across the screen and create a barrier. At 30kHz, not even bats would be able to hear it, but the tiny vibrations effectively make rain, dirt, snow, and other debris bounce away. Such a system would not only improve visibility, it’d also improve weight, reduce drag on the car, and make it travel that much faster in a race. It’s an “electronic system that never fails” according to Stephenson.

Surprisingly, this isn’t a novel (brand new) piece of technology. Several military grade aircrafts come equipped with force fields around their planes too. This would, however, be the first time the tech is introduced to automobiles, but we probably won’t see it in action until 2015.

Images courtesy of McLaren Automotive.