Obviously, the EV automaker doesn't like anything on cars that you can hear.
For over 100 years, windshield wipers have gone about their business pretty much like a car wheel or seat: nobody questioned their existence, and nobody ever took the time to conjure up an alternative. Besides permanently vacationing in the Sahara Desert, of course. But the mad scientists at Tesla have been hard at work because the EV automaker has now developed an actual laser system to remove debris from a vehicle's windshield.
The patent has already gone public and details a laser positioned in the same spot where a wiper would be. The laser then hones in on and removes debris from the windshield by emitting pulses of light which then destroy/burn up its target. For now, the technology is referred to as "Pulsed Laser Cleaning of Debris Accumulated on Glass Articles in Vehicles and Photovoltaic Assemblies".
The patent application's text includes the following explanation: "A cleaning system for a vehicle includes a beam optics assembly that emits a laser beam to irradiate a region on a glass article of the vehicle, debris detection circuitry that detects debris accumulated over the region, and control circuitry." The same system can be adapted to clear the Autopilot system's cameras of debris.
What isn't clear yet is whether 'debris' means isolated dirt particles or an entirely wet windscreen, so perhaps we may not have to mourn the demise of the wiper blade just yet. We imagine a rainy day out in the tropical climate of West Palm Beach, Florida, would have those lasers working overtime.
The technology isn't restricted to its use on cars, however. It can also be adapted to clear debris off the solar panels of a house's roof, which would obviously be a lot more convenient (and safe) than clambering up there yourself. Of course, if the tech does see the light of day, questions about eye safety in close proximity to zapping lasers will need to be answered.
Had Tesla made us aware of its laser tech even two weeks ago, we'd probably have been a bit more surprised than we are now. But of course, this news comes after the reveal of the shocking Tesla Cybertruck, exactly the type of concoction for which laser windshield wipers seem destined.