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anti-hydroplane "plows"

small plows to shove the water away from your tires
  (+14, -4)(+14, -4)
(+14, -4)
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Imagine small snow-plow shaped scoops, that at the touch of a button, descend down to the road in front of each wheel of your car. They are made of a type of hard rubber (cheap and easily replaceable bottoms strips). They essentially drag on (or just above) the surface of the road. Any standing water on the road gets flung up and to the side right before the tires make contact with the road.

The "plows" are attached to a rod or bracket that is hinged to the car at some point in front of the point of contact with the road. So if the plows hit any bumps or irregularites they can just pivot back and up from the road surface. They are held down via springs, gravity, or maybe the same vacuum actuators which lowered them in the first place? Expensive cars would have sensors to detect the amount of moisture on the road and lower them automatically.

ServoMan314, May 16 2006

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       [+] For emergency situations, you may take a 1/2 baked suggestion to instead use compressed air blow the water out of the way. Kind of like the airbag system. Rubber plows are simpler, but more likely to cause loss of control.
sophocles, May 16 2006
  

       The plows should be attached to the wheel assembly so that they bounce up and down with the tire, rather than the rest of the car.
Galbinus_Caeli, May 16 2006
  

       Galbinus, I was thinking the same thing. It would make the plows track the road surface a lot better, although all the weight of the plows, actuators and hinges would be "unsprung" weight, negatively impacting handling. Maybe lasers that scan the road surface ahead and automatically raise or lower the plows? Nah, thats getting way too complicated...
ServoMan314, May 16 2006
  

       Awesome idea!   

       Why not use big plows, for deeper water?   

       Better yet, make a rubber "skirt", all the way around the tire, which slides across the road at low speeds.   

       [sophocles], the air blower would have to be substantial to blow the water out of the way...
sninctown, May 16 2006
  

       Seems like they would die if you hit a pothole, or possibly get runover, and rip off. i dunno interesting concept, but seems like if it did have such a pivot that at high speeds when it would be most needed it woudl be pushed out of the way by the water. the reason you hydroplane is because your going so fast that your wheels dont have enough time to break the surface tentsion of the water, and if this plow is hinged it wont have enough force, but if its not, bumps could do very bad things. idea has merit, but i dont think it will work with real physics. fishbone for now, if you think of an idea to fix this ill give you some bread.   

       P.S. [sninctown] at low speed you wont hydroplane, and you would have to be goign so fast to hydroplane deep water that a bigger plow would cause a crash. or a hell of alot of force on the driver/ passenger.
Curiosity, May 17 2006
  

       [sninctown] yes. substantial just like airbags, eh? Doable. Combine the trigger/sensor from the ABS brake system with the gas-supply from the airbag.   

       I can't imagine the plows would be down the whole time. Only in an emergency situation. Otherwise, always on they'd be safety & efficiency problems.
sophocles, May 17 2006
  

       //Better yet, make a rubber "skirt"//   

       Bumper car? :)
kuupuuluu, May 17 2006
  

       [Curiosity], instead of the hinged mechanism just have a sensor that detects potholes, etc. and a (fast-acting) hydraulic to raise the device if needed. Does this seem plausible?
sninctown, May 19 2006
  

       Once upon a time I hydroplaned briefly on a motorcycle at freeway speeds. It made for a very interesting moment.
normzone, May 19 2006
  

       How about having some non-load-bearing wheels immediately in front of the load-bearing ones? The non-load-bearing wheels would be designed to throw water away and could even be counter-rotated during braking. Because they would not have to support the the vehicle, they could be constructed of lightweight materials.
supercat, May 19 2006
  

       //non-load-bearing wheels immediately in front of the load-bearing ones// If they were really non load bearing, they would hydroplane immediately, and essentially float on the water, not accomplishing much. If they were given *some* amount of load, they would just reduce the load on the real wheels, causing them to hydroplane more easily. The plows don't take any weight off the car's wheels, but instead use the force of the water hitting their sloped fronts to provide downward force.
ServoMan314, Jul 04 2008
  

       The purpose of the non-load-bearing wheels would be to get water out of the way of the drive wheels. Basically the same function as the plow in the main idea, but somewhat more tolerant of bumps and debris in the road.
supercat, Jul 04 2008
  

       I've actually thought about this a lot, to do it hang a long sheet of plastic off a hinge in front of the tire, then bend the end to a plow shape. Add in small guide block on the inside to lift the end in case of bumps. You don't need the plow touching the ground, which would actually annoy you. What you want is something that will funnel off water over a certain height.
MisterQED, Jul 05 2008
  

       What about some kind of metal or plastic comb that would aerate the water making it less dense so the aquaplaning wouldn't happen?   

       This way less force would be on the plow, and it could be swept back on an angle and sprung to absorb bumps in the road.
Giblet, Jul 17 2008
  
      
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