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McLaren windshield: Futuristic force field replacing windshield wipers? 'Sound'

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A McLaren windshield might be replacing the U.S. public’s windshield wipers within our lifetimes, and the secret behind it would be a futuristic force field technology that utilizes sound. Hot on the treads of the greatly anticipated supercar, the MP4 12C, and the P1 hypercar, McLaren is allegedly ready to make the windshield wiper obsolete before long. Yahoo! Auto News spills all on this advanced feature this Tuesday, Dec. 17, in a report.

The McLaren windshield is the latest innovation by the company as part of a new system that takes a futuristic technology employed now only by fighter jets. Rather than the sliding windshield wipers of old, these cars might instead take advantage of high-frequency sound waves to create an invisible barrier — a force field, if you will — that prevents water and insects from settling on the windshield. The moment they touch, the reverberations immediately “shake” these droplets and pests off.

In addition to this face value benefit, it’s said that trying these waterproof and bug-proof windshield “wipers” (effectively without the wipers, though) would improve future cars’ aerodynamics because the piece of plastic would be gone, thereby limiting overall drag and making the vehicle that much more fuel efficient.

Unfortunately, fellow auto enthusiasts shouldn’t expect to see the McLaren windshield anytime soon. A recent email from a spokesperson for the company confirmed that for now, the futuristic concept is only “an idea at this stage … with no real confirmed date of introduction.”

There’s legal issues that might come to a head as well in proving these sound barriers’ safety and efficacy while on the road and in very rainy and snowy weather.

“If the automaker did want to bring it to market, however, it would have to deal with the fact that windshield wipers are required in the U.S. by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) … Yet getting an exemption from the rule isn't out of the question. NHTSA allows Terrafugia, the flying car company, to use a different kind of windshield than the one required on most cars, to handle the threat of bird strikes in the air.”

It’s unknown at this time what estimated price such force field technology might cost or add to the purchase of a vehicle, but it certainly is an interesting notion for the future of our everyday cars.

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