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McLaren to get rid of wiper blades

McLaren wants to consign the humble wiper blade to the annals of history.

Either McLaren is keen to shed every milligram of weight it can, or it has a vendetta against the wiper blade ─ whatever the reason, the British supercar maker said it wants to do away with them after 2015. The long bits of metal and rubber will be replaced by a technology utilised by jet fighters, which involves firing ultra-sonic sound waves over the windscreen to make vibrations stop rain, snow and even insects from settling.

Reports say the technology, which could cost as little as £10, is similar to that used in dentistry to remove plaque from teeth. The vibrations are said to be undetectable by the naked eye.

McLaren labelled the trusty wiper blade invented, in 1903, as “archaic”, adding that it adds unnecessary weight to a vehicle. Not having them could help with fuel efficiency, depending on the weight of the new system, of course.

“It took a lot of effort to get this out of a source in the military,” McLaren chief designer Frank Stephenson said. “I asked why you don’t see wipers on some aircraft when they are coming in at very low speeds for landing.”

“I was told that it’s not a coating on the surface but a high frequency electronic system that never fails and is constantly active. Nothing will attach to the windscreen,” he added.

We wonder how well it works against frost? At least the unit cost is similar, although it may be more difficult to replace the system when it goes wrong.

McLaren recently unveiled full details of the P1 supercar, an £866,000 British-built hybrid supercar that lapped the Nurburgring in less than seven minutes.


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