London, Mar 2 : Had enough of the noisy windscreen wipers which leave unwiped bits around the edges of the screen in spite their best efforts? Take a breather, for a self-cleaning windscreen is coming to your rescue.
Using nanotechnology, Italian car designers have invented a self-cleaning windscreen, which could do away with the need for wipers forever.
The windscreen uses a special oxide to repel water and miniature nozzles which blast out water and air to get rid of dust and dirt.
The device has been developed by car design firm Fioravanti, whose founder Leonardo Fioravanti helped design Ferrari sports cars.
The windscreen uses super-thin layers of nanoparticles on top of the windscreen. Each layer is a couple of atoms thick, meaning they can work simultaneously on water and dust.
The first layer is an ultra-thin coating of titanium dioxide, a substance also found in sun creams. It acts as a filter for UV rays and stops raindrops obscuring the driver's view by spreading out the water as a thin film.
Another layer pushes dirt towards the edges of the screen, said the makers. Around the edges of the screen are hundreds of tiny nozzles, which can blast air and water at the dirt and clean it away.
Other layers of the window include a series of transparent sensors, which can work out where the dirt is and activate the nanoparticles.
Yet another layer involves an electrical conductor used to power the sensor and the nozzles.
The end effect, according to the designers, is a car, which keeps the window spotless without windscreen wipers.
"Windshield wipers are pretty poor because, firstly, they don't clean the whole windshield. And also they have to be placed at the base of the window and they restrict the freedom to change the design of the car," The Scotsman quoted Luca Fioravanti, a member of the design team, as saying.
"When we take them away, we can do much more interesting things with the design of the automobile," Fioravanti added.
Neil Greig, director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) Motoring Trust, said: "It seems a very interesting idea, but I'm not sure how well it would cope in Scotland with the slush and salt on the roads that we have here.
"During the winter it's not so much the rain that dirties the windows as the salt spray. And also in summer, our windscreens get covered in midgies and other insects. I think that would be quite a challenge for a device like this to clean off," he added.