Windshield wipers and Autonomous Cars

Have you ever driven in the rain? Have you ever felt like you can never get your windshield wipers to be the exact right speed. Well yesterday I was driving home and this exact thing happened. There was no option on my wipers good enough. One was too fast and just excessive and the other was slow enough to where i could not see at the very end of each of the strokes…


With all of the technology in wiper blades now days like rain sensing and speed adjustment etc, this seems like a very small problem to fix, and an easy one at that.

Take a look at this video:

You can clearly see that it does not take much to make a windshield wiper motor speed adjustable to any speed with just a potentiometer, microcontroller and the motor. Computers are already in cars so the only thing really needed is a pot. How simple is that.

Well and a knob like this one. But how cool would this be for windshield wipers? Is this not better then the 3-4 options you have for your wipers?


Plus that is one good looking knob!

Anyways just a simple “fix” for the car companies out there.
Now to the things I randomly talk about. 2 days ago I walked into my bosses office to tell him I am taking a friday off to go see my team compete, we started talking about robotics, autonomous and go to autonomous cars.

Here are some cool videos of autonomous cars that are being developed and that are being tested today!

First is the Audi RS7 (one of the best cars of all time) doing a lap on this track fully autonomously with no driver:

The second is of a BMW M235i (also and awesome car) doing drifting challenge against the world champion and winning:

I could talk forever about these 2 videos as this is some really cool stuff and as a robotics person I would love to get my hands on something like this and to work for one of the car companies working on stuff like this but….

The point of the conversation was the following: once autonomous cars are allowed on roads, how are the smart cars going to deal with stupid drivers, and by that I mean if the smart autonomous cars can do this:

How are we going to not cause wrecks and traffic jams. I honestly would be scared to drive into something like this… I would probably just close my eyes and drive straight…

This video has an interesting premise though, and that is that the cars in yellow are controlled by people and the white is autonomous. So as you get to an intersection the car takes over. Then as you pass you can get control back. But I don’t know, I want to drive my car the whole time. Maybe that’s just me being old school but then again I love driving manual…

I need to get a manual before they are banned…

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