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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Tesla patents filed on March 4, 2019 reveal a completely new windshield wiper system that requires less energy and does a better job at cleaning, compared to the traditional arc motion setup we've been used to.

Here's how Tesla explains it:

"An electromagnetic wiper system for a windshield of a vehicle includes a linear actuator, a wiper-arrangement, and control circuitry. The linear actuator includes at least one guide rail having permanent magnets and an electromagnetic moving block. The electromagnetic moving block includes at least one perforation that surrounds the at least one guide rail and at least one electromagnetic coil that surrounds the at least one perforation. The wiper-arrangement includes a wiper arm and a wiper blade, wherein at least the wiper arm is coupled to the electromagnetic moving block. The control circuitry controls a linear motion of the electromagnetic moving block along the at least one guide rail to steer the wiper arm that is coupled to the electromagnetic moving block back and forth across a length of the windshield to the windshield, wherein the electromagnetic moving block induces minimal friction during the linear motion."

Simply put, electromagnets in the wiper arm rails move the arms across the windshield horizontally, a design which is far more energy efficient and less restrictive compared to the traditional wiper system that requires motors to rotate the wipers back and forth in an arc motion.

Check out the patent images below to see the electromagnetic wiper system in detail.


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C&D also provided a summary on these patents long with some other important points to note

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Tesla’s a Game Changer When It Comes to Windshield Wipers
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  • Tesla has applied for a patent for a new electromagnetic windshield-wiper system that has a single wiper blade.
  • The new system is designed for better wiping efficiency—and killer good looks, according to the patent application.
  • Not for nothing, but the design also reduces the amount of battery charge needed to run the wiper function.
The last car part you'd ever think would change is being revolutionized by Tesla, which has filed a patent for a new windshield-wiper design. The basic windshield wiper hasn't changed in a long time. It's just a small gear set that rotates back and forth to move the wiper blade across the windshield. Sure, wiper blades have gotten more advanced as manufacturers have learned how to make better contact with the windshield and keep the view out less streaky, but Tesla shows in this patent application that it's looking at the problem in a fresh way.

Published on September 5, Tesla's patent filing describes an "electromagnetic wiper system for the windshield of a vehicle." This single-blade design is supposed to be more efficient and better-looking, according to Tesla's description, although from the drawings it appears it could also be adapted to a dual-blade setup. It works using electromagnets and guide rails. Picture high-speed maglev trains, named for the magnetic levitation they use to move quickly and efficiently from place to place; it's like that on a smaller scale.
Tesla Patent for Wiper Blades

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Tesla Patent for Wiper Blades

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Tesla's design involves a block attached to the wiper arm and blade. The arm is connected to two guide rails to keep the system in place and to ensure that the blade makes contact with the windshield. The block is how the entire arm-and-blade assembly moves, since the block moves on a set of magnets surrounded by electromagnetic coil. When a current passes through the magnet and coil, the block will move across the windshield and take the arm and blade along with it.

It's no small point on an EV that, with this system, the wiper needs to draw less power from the car's battery. Tesla mentions that the mechanical components of the traditional wiper blade create a lot of friction, which requires more power to the motor that moves the arm back and forth. Electromagnets are essentially frictionless, so the only friction in Tesla's wiper system is from the guide rails on which the arm slides. This reduction in power being drawn could increase the already astonishing 370-mile driving range of a Long Range Tesla Model S, but we'll have to wait and see for ourselves to know how much of a difference this makes.

Tesla was also thinking about its Autopilot system when conceptualizing the patent for the wiper system. The argument is that traditional wiper systems aren't as robust as this new electromagnetic system; time and weather can lead to corrosion, making the traditional setup less effective over time. The resulting lack of visibility could hamper Autopilot and other autonomous-driving aids that use cameras to track lanes and objects around the car. Better visibility is better for the cameras and, of course, for the driver.

At the end of the day, Tesla is doing what it does best: revolutionizing. Having vastly expanded the idea of what an electric vehicle can be, the company appears to be taking that same mindset to the details, like windshield wipers.
 
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