Seeing The Road Ahead - Trends In Windshield Technology
by Toni Richards
When a person is looking at a new vehicle, many questions go through their head that they need to ask the dealer. What engine does it have in it? Does it have leather seats? What about a navigation system? But one thing that will probably never be said to a new car salesman is, "tell me about the windshield."
Of course, things like plush Corinthian leather seats and dual-zone air conditioning provide great comfort, but even they wouldn't be comfortable without the ever vigilant protection provided by the windshield keeping out dirt, rocks, bugs, birds and whatever else the car runs into. Even though at the end-user level the windshield doesn't get the credit it deserves, that doesn't mean car makers are not constantly looking for ways to make them even better. Some very interesting trends are developing in this area.
Smart Glass - While there are several applications of the technology, smart glass is basically glass that has a laminating material coating it which allows various electronic components to be embedded to perform a variety of functions. While not yet completely available, significant advances have been made in the development of self-tinting, self-cleaning and even self-repairing glass that can repair small chips and cracks on itself.
Heads Up Display - Using technology similar to that used in fighter jets, information such as speed, and vehicle gauges can be projected onto the windshield to allow the driver to monitor them as necessary without taking their eyes off the road even for a split-second. The technology can be used for other applications a well, such as GPS and navigation programs. This again promotes vehicle safety as drivers access this information while maintaining eye contact on the road.
ADAS - Recent advances in technology have increased the safety of driving a vehicle by taking some tasks out of the hands of the driver and taking care of them using automated systems. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have been developed to help a vehicle detect and avoid threats through a variety of tools such as adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance cameras. These tools are almost always applied to the windshield of a vehicle.
As the windshield remains an integral part of the safety and beauty of a vehicle all types of technology and designs are being considered which help to keep a driver safe, comfortable and well informed while driving their car. Contact a windshield replacement shop if you want to upgrade your windshield.