Car window panes double as digital interface

Car window panes double as digital interface

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

With a film technology developed by Continental, panoramic roofs can be darkened on command, part of the windshield can be tinted when the sun is low or the windows behind the B-pillar can be darkened in the rear seats for more privacy. The windows can even serve as displays: “The window pane becomes an active, intelligent part of the vehicle,” says Johann Hiebl, head of Continental’s Body & Security and Infotainment & Connectivity business units. In addition to comfort and communication functions, the intelligent glass also opens up new energy-saving possibilities through darkening and heating functions – relevant for electromobiles in the first place.

The intelligent glass control works with special foils that are integrated into the glass and change their light transmission through electrical control signals. There are different technologies for this, but they have different advantages and disadvantages with regard to the optical quality or the speed at which the glass panes darken. Until now, such intelligent panes could mainly be used for panoramic roofs in the automotive environment. Continental chose Liquid Crystal (LC) technology in the first place, a technology that has long since established itself in the field of commercial displays.

The liquid crystals are aligned together with embedded color particles by an alternating voltage in such a way that the screen darkens or brightens. This happens within milliseconds. According to Continental, in transparent mode the windows no longer show any visible residual turbidity. In addition, different color schemes can be realized.

Controlled darkening of individual window panes offers more: More privacy protection and better air conditioning due to less heating of the interior. If the tinting function in the windshield is coupled with the vehicle electrical system and the cloud connection, areas of the windshield can be automatically darkened or brightened in good time depending on the weather conditions and the position of the sun. As a further example of application, the windows, networked with the locking system, could defrost immediately in winter when the driver approaches his car.

The intelligent glass could become even more important in a completely different function: Information from the driver assistance and infotainment systems could be displayed on a smart glass pane. The pane could also be turned into a smart display with touchscreen elements, according to the technology supplier’s pioneers.

Related articles:

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“Transparent” A-pillar eliminates blind area

Car windows darken upon the push of a button



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