by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

The new Mercedes-Benz SL: MAGIC VISION CONTROL adaptive windscreen washing system - Visibility as if by magic

An astonishing experience: the wiper blade glides over the badly soiled windscreen of the new SL, without a sign of a cleaning water jet, the occupants do not notice anything yet the windscreen is still cleaned! The new SL is the first vehicle to be equipped with the adaptive MAGIC VISION CONTROL wiper/washer system developed by Mercedes-Benz. It cleans the windscreen without the splash of water that usually briefly disrupts the driver’s field of view in the case of conventional windscreen washing systems – something that is especially unpleasant at night or when the sun is low in the sky and at high speeds.

In fact, the windscreen cleaning operation in the SL is still performed with washer fluid in the conventional manner. The innovation lies in the way the fluid is conducted to the windscreen in order to clean it. This is done by means of water guides integrated on both sides along the wiper blade – one on the left and one on the right – with minute laser-cut spraying holes. Via these channels, the innovative washer/wiper system always supplies washing fluid to the windscreen discreetly, precisely where it is needed: just in front of the wiper blade lip, according to the direction of movement of the wiper. The holes are distributed along the entire length of the wiper blade, being more closely spaced towards the outside of the blade, where it sweeps a greater area, than closer in, where the area swept is smaller.

Programs for summer, winter and cabriolet operation

Mercedes-Benz controls the MAGIC VISION CONTROL system intelligently via three partly autonomous wash programs – for summer, for winter and for cabriolet driving. It is the first windscreen wipe/wash system anywhere in the world to operate in this way. In summer, small quantities of water are sufficient to remove a light powdering of dust. In winter the dirt mixed with de-icing salt requires a greater amount of water. The MAGIC VISION CONTROL system works in accordance with the outside temperature, and it also automatically adapts the washer fluid quantity to the surrounding conditions.

A particularly interesting feature of the SL Roadster is the Cabriolet function: when the hardtop is down, the electronic control system reduces the amount of water, apart from which it demands the required water mainly on the downward stroke of the wiper arm. This way the windscreen can be conveniently cleaned during the journey and with an open roof, without any of the water spraying into the vehicle interior. Another pleasant side effect is that, since the washer fluid is directed specifically and in a well-metered manner to the area to be cleaned, one doesn’t douse anyone else in the surroundings with water, either, and it also doesn’t distribute any spray onto the vehicles behind. At the end of the day, a better cleaning effect is attained with up to half the amount of washer fluid. It has therefore been possible to reduce the volume of the washer fluid reservoir by 1.7 litres compared with the preceding model. This in turn contributes to a reduction in weight and consequently to greater efficiency.

Winter-proof thanks to the heated system

On request the MAGIC VISION CONTROL wiper blades are completely heated on the new SL, making Mercedes-Benz the first manufacturer in the world to offer a fully heated wiper/washer system. It consists of a washer fluid container heated through coolant waste heat, electric heating for the entire hose system and, as a newly-developed highlight, a fully heated wiper blade. This effectively prevents the formation of snow on the wiper blades, so typical in winter. To do this each of the spring rails of the blade is equipped with a heater foil with an output of 35 watts per blade. It heats the spoiler and the wipe lip. Snow and ice cannot freeze onto the blade; it remains supple in winter, too, and always cleans well.

The heating is also controlled as required according to the duration of operation and the outside temperature. It is only below a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius that the system makes use of the entire system’s maximum output, 270 watts. Between 5 degrees above and 20 degrees below zero the heating operates in an energy-saving mode and only requires the output needed to thaw out the wiper/washer system and keep it free of snow and ice.

Credits: Daimler AG

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