Developments in the auto glass industry may not be as exciting as those in the tech world, but new advancements in the field are changing the driving experience. Here are five technologies changing the industry.
1. Display Projection
Display projection technology isn’t exactly a new development. It’s been in use in military aircraft since the 1940s. But with the rise of smartphone use and distracted driving, the automotive industry is breathing new life into this technology.
Known as a “heads up display,” the technology projects the user’s smartphone screen onto the car’s windshield for easy viewing. The displays are used with specialized auto glass to provide drivers with a wealth of information, including mapping that superimposes over the actual road. The display can also identify potential obstacles, give fuel readings and provide critical safety information.
Drivers never have to take their eyes off of the road to view or hear the information.
Heads up displays can also pair with Bluetooth devices to allow for hands-free texting and talking.
Some luxury vehicles already have this technology installed, including Cadillac, Jaguar, Audi, Land Rover, BMW and Lexus.
2. Gorilla Glass
Gorilla Glass was created by Corning’s automotive segment, and the technology may prove to be invaluable to the auto industry.
These clear and clean windshields are twice as resistant to sharp stones as conventional auto glass. It’s also 50% less likely to suffer cracks. In fact, this glass is so tough that it can survive hailstones hurling at 72 mph.
Gorilla Glass, which is a variation of smartphone screen glass, is lighter in weight, which makes cars more fuel efficient, improves performance and lowers CO emissions.
It’s also compatible with windshield projection technology and offers three times the viewing area with clarity that’s three-times sharper and brighter than conventional glass.
3. Silver-Embedded Glass
The sweltering summer heat can turn your car into a sauna. Frigid temperatures can turn your windshield into an ice box. Volkswagen’s silver-embedded glass can solve both of these problems.
These windshields have a thin, invisible layer of silver that creates a surface that reflects 60% of the sun’s rays in the summer. In the winter, electricity heats up the silver layer, allowing for easy snow and ice removal.
4. One-Way Bulletproof Glass
Traditionally, bulletproof glass is made to stop the passage of bullets on both sides of the glass. New one-way bulletproof glass prevents bullets from entering the vehicle, but allows them to exit from the inside. This would allow armed bodyguards to fire out of the vehicle.
With one-way bulletproof glass, there are two layers: an outer layer comprised of brittle glass, and a flexible polycarbonate layer. When a bullet hits the windshield from the outside, it hits the brittle glass layer first, and the polycarbonate layer stops the bullet. When a shot is fired from the inside of the vehicle, it hits the polycarbonate layer first with more focused energy. The brittle glass layer then breaks outward to allow the bullet to pass through.
5. Tesla Armor Glass
Tesla’s armor glass can withstand the hit of a tow hitch without cracking. The goal of the glass is to reduce cracked glass windshields in semis. Semis are built with large panes of glass. A single crack can put a truck out of commission, which can cost drivers and their employers time and money.