As the old English proverb goes, necessity is the mother of invention. In fact, it was a necessity that bore Mary Anderson to invent and patent the first windshield wiper. During a trip to New York City, Mrs. Anderson observed a streetcar operator having difficulty seeing through the windshield due to poor weather conditions. To safely operate the streetcar, the operator had to stick his head out the side of the streetcar to see the road. After returning to her home in Alabama, Mrs. Anderson sketched up her device and applied for a patent in 1903. Later that year, Mrs. Anderson was awarded the first windshield wiper patent for her “Window-Cleaning Device.” However, it was not until around 1916 that windshield wipers began to take off due to explosive growth in the automobile industry.

Mary Anderson windshield wiper
FIG. 1 and FIG. 6 of U.S. Pat. No. 743,801

Electromagnetic Windshield Wiper System

Now, over one-hundred years later, the car industry has once again been revolutionized by the windshield wiper. In particular, TESLA has seemingly turned an often overlooked but critical piece of safety equipment into the next generation.

Image taken from U.S. Pat. Pub. 20190270431A1

Specifically, earlier this year, TESLA received approval for its “Electromagnetic Windshield Wiper Design System.” TESLA’s design was born its need to reduce power consumption that results from the friction created by the plethora of mechanical components of traditional wiper designs. To increase the power efficiency (and electric vehicle range), TESLA engineers developed an electromagnetic wiper system. Generally, TESLA’s revolutionary new design comprises a linear actuator, a wiper-arrangement, and corresponding control circuity that controls the blade’s linear motion.

This is not TESLA’s first rodeo with wiper blade technology. In fact, TESLA currently has an application pending for a laser beam windshield cleaning system. However, as of this article, its laser beam wiper application is currently pending. While it is yet to be seen if its laser beam system will materialize, one thing is for certain—TESLA will continue to push the boundaries of windshield wiper technology in the name of power efficiency.