Sometimes a sudden splash of water covers the windscreen and it takes a while for the wiper system or the driver to react. 50% of drivers feel anxious before overtaking a truck on a wet road.
Sweden’s Semcon has developed a system that is claimed to react even faster. An important consideration, when travelling at highway speeds.
Known as ProActive Wipers (PAW), the system is actually a computer program that could be installed on newer vehicles – no hardware upgrades are necessary. Instead, it utilizes the information from the car’s camera, radar and rain sensors. The software knows that large vehicles present a risk for sudden water splashes and gets ready. At the same time as the water hits the screen it’s wiped away, giving the driver a clear view.
When the software determines that a soaking is imminent, it automatically switches the windshield wipers on to High. This starts before any water actually hits the glass. By contrast, rain sensors alone typically only activate the wipers once water has been detected on the windshield.
PAW is a good example of how it’s possible to take advantage of technology that is already present in cars and use it in a new and creative way – in this case to make windscreen wipers smarter and safer for the user.
Magnus Carlsson, responsible for active safety and autonomous driving at Semcon.
Semcon has reportedly tested PAW in real-world driving conditions, and is now refining the technology. It hopes to have a market-ready version completed within a year, which automakers could then incorporate into their vehicles.