Tesla has received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a new windshield wiper system that takes aim at conventional designs. As opposed to an electric motor, the company’s electromagnetic windshield wiper system utilizes a linear actuator that Tesla says cuts back on wear and tear, increases motorists’ visibility and offers a wiper solution to the increased curvature of windshields.
Tesla originally filed for the patent in 2019, with the USPTO publishing the awarded patent on January 3, 2023. According to the patent, the system includes a linear actuator incorporating a guide rail with permanent magnets and an electromagnetic moving block at the base of the windshield. The wiper arm is then coupled to the moving block, allowing it to move back and forth across the windshield. Tesla describes the block’s motion as an “electromagnetic train.”
The company writes that conventional systems using multiple wiper blades have a “cluttered design” and can “hamper the unobstructed field-of-view from the path ahead.” Those systems also utilize electrical motors with many moving parts, making them susceptible to wear and tear. The sliding motion of those mechanical components can also increase friction, which Tesla says requires the need for additional power from the battery.
“As a result of the uncluttered design and almost frictionless movement of the electromagnetic moving block, the disclosed electromagnetic wiper system improved the field-of-view of the path for drivers, driver-assist functions, and autonomous-driving functions,” Tesla says.
When not in use, the wipers would be stored under the hood as opposed to resting on the windshield. The system can also adjust the “angle of attack” or inclination angle of the wiper blade, which applies force on the windshield as opposed to conventional designs that may not apply such force.
“In addition, as the curvature of windshields becomes more complex, conventional wiper systems have difficulty adapting to varying surface profiles and thus affecting their ability to effectively clean windshield contaminants,” Tesla says. “For example, conventional systems are not capable of effectively cleaning a windshield that curves around a driver, that is the windshield provides a view directly in front of the driver but also to the left and to the right.”