It just works very well. Good job, kids!
On average, a driver spends about 20 liters of water every year to keep the windscreen of his car clean. That’s not really a huge amount of water, but if you multiple this number by the number of drivers in the world it gets crazy. But wait, what if rainwater could do the job of keeping our windscreens clean?
This is a brilliant idea that can save millions liters of water every year. Just imagine that we don’t simply wipe raindrops off the windscreen, but instead collect and reuse the water via the water jets.
Yes, it’s that simple and two clever kids from Germany are the first to actually tell this idea to the world. In this case, Ford is the world, as its engineers were intrigued by the idea and installed a full-size collecting device into an S-Max family hauler test car. In this prototype, rubber pipes are connecting the bottom of the windshield to the reservoir to collect raindrops.
“We couldn’t believe that no-one had thought of it before,” nine-year-old Lara Krohn explains. “To try it out, we took apart our toy fire engine and fixed the pump to a model car inside an aquarium. Then we added a filtering system to ensure the water was clean. It just worked really well.”
Indeed, as the video above shows, the scale model system works really well. So well, in fact it won the kids first prize in a local science competition and grabbed the attention of Ford’s engineers, who have installed a similar device into a full-sized test car.
“Daniel and Lara’s idea has been staring drivers in the face for decades – and it has taken one moment of ingenuity to bring it to life,” Theo Geuecke, body exterior hardware supervisor at Ford of Europe, says. “In less than five minutes of rainfall the washer reservoir is completely full.”
Ford predicts that water usage by vehicles will continue to increase, as there are now more and more cameras and sensors that need to be kept clean. Given that, the Blue oval is working on number of methods to capture water, including condensation.
It’s an idea that could one day help save billions of liters of water. Instead of simply wiping raindrops off our car windshields, why not collect and reuse the water via the washer jets?
Brother and sister Daniel and Lara Krohn were travelling in the family car last summer when the heavens opened. But when their dad Gerd, who was driving, tried to clear away the smears, the reservoir was empty – and the windshield just got dirtier and dirtier.
The two clever kids’ idea to capture the raindrops and reuse them won first prize in a local science competition and has now been developed for a full-sized test car.
“It was a downpour. There was water everywhere – except in the windscreen wiper reservoir. My sister and I thought this was really funny and then the answer suddenly seemed obvious. Simply reuse the rainwater,” said 11-year-old Daniel, from Jülich, in Germany.
“We couldn’t believe that no-one had thought of it before,” added 9-year-old Lara. “To try it out, we took apart our toy fire engine and fixed the pump to a model car inside an aquarium. Then we added a filtering system to ensure the water was clean. It just worked really well.”
Engineers at Ford who heard about the idea were so intrigued that they offered to install a full‑sized device into a Ford S-MAX test car. To collect the water, rubber pipes connected the bottom of the windshield to the reservoir.
“Daniel and Lara’s idea has been staring drivers in the face for decades – and it has taken one moment of ingenuity to bring it to life. In less than five minutes of rainfall the washer reservoir is completely full,” said Theo Geuecke, supervisor, Body Exterior Hardware, Ford of Europe.
Water usage by vehicles is expected to increase as additional cameras and sensors also need to be kept clean. Ford engineers are already working on ways to capture water, via rain and condensation, including a way of gathering moisture from the air and filtering it into drinking water – On‑the-Go H20.
“What a brilliant idea! Innovations like these are essential to make the water we have go further. We will all need to change our behaviour to waste less water, but we’ll also need clever new bits of kit like the one Daniel and Lara have designed,” said Nicci Russell, managing director, Waterwise.