Car window panes double as digital interface

July 29, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Car window panes double as digital interface
Today, around five square metres of glass are used in a modern car. But while many components, from interior mirrors with fatigue sensors to speedometer displays in 3D, already function as digitally networked high-tech components, the glass panes are large, digitally unused surfaces. Vehicle supplier Continental sees enormous potential here.

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.

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