Automotive business is obsessed with costs, they are doing everything to cut the costs and move any necessary features to option list to charge us. This is the rule of the game! However, sometimes this price-cutting obsession exceeds the limits of our imagination. Five years ago, if you wanted to buy A VW Golf or Ford Focus you will find something really interesting on brochure. Intermittent windshield wiper is not available in cheapest model, I am not talking something really complicated or sophisticated. Just a knob to adjust the time interval for wipers for light rain and this was optional! You have to pay extra money. Actually, nobody ever think about this and they just pay it! –Interestingly Hyundai offers this as standard for many years.-
I forgot this state of art cost cutting tactic until now! Recently I watched a movie trailer on YouTube, called Flash of Genius. And it is based on a true story of intermittent windshield wiper. In 1960s, car companies did not have adequate electronic to adjust time interval for wipers and it was a serious problem. Robert Kearns wanted to solve this problem and invented the system for wipers! He found a system and gains the patent but things did not go well for him! That small thing on wiper knob was a huge problem for automotive industry and cost millions of dollars in courts.
I didn’t watch the movie yet, but I read some articles about what happened between Robert and Detroit car companies. I don’t want to write every detail, you need to watch it. However, he did not give up on his patent until 1992 and finally he received millions of dollars with interest for his technology. It is really interesting that the whole automotive industry could not find a very basic solution to a wiper system and it was found by someone, who did not work in automotive industry! Now I can see why Ford is still charging extra money for that small thing!
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