The international automotive supplier Continental has developed a new generation of film technology for shading of car windows. The “Intelligent Glass Control” uses special films that are inserted into the glass and change transparency through electric control signals.
“The selective, incremental darkening of the side and rear windows, as well as parts of the windshield, not only offers considerably increased comfort for passengers, but also makes driving safer,” said Andreas Wolf, head of Continental’s Body & Security business unit. “When the sun is low over the horizon, the driver’s hand instinctively goes from the steering wheel to the sun visor, which results in both impaired visibility and a brief decrease in control of the vehicle. In the future, such situations can be detected in advance and the windows could darken automatically before the event even occurs.”
Darkening saves energy
By using these films, the solar radiation can be reduced more effectively than with other technologies, Continental says. As a result, the heat is kept out of the vehicle, which can significantly reduce the interior temperature. This relieves the air conditioning unit, which can be smaller, more energy-efficient and lighter. Furthermore, the weight of the sun visors and mechanical blinds are removed, which all lead to positive effects on the environment.
“Our calculations have shown that the CO2 emissions are reduced by a good four grams per kilometer thanks to these measures, ultimately increasing the range of electric vehicles by around 5.5 percent,” Wolf said.
In addition to the reduced heat in the interior, the darkening also effectively enhances privacy. “If the vehicle is parked, the windows darken automatically, so the inside of the vehicle cannot be seen from the outside.”
Intelligent Glass Control also gives designers new options. According to Wolf, the glass surfaces could be extended further, without having to cover certain areas mechanically. The available film still has a slightly blue shimmer, but Continental is expecting a broader range of colors in the future, opening up additional design possibilities. Other effects, from coupling light effects through energy recovery to touch screen functionalities, may also be possible, according to Continental.
Even though the film is still rather cost-intensive for mid-range vehicles with large glazed areas, it is anticipated that the prices will quickly drop due to further promising developments with initial applications in the mobile area.
Continental at CES 2016
Continental will be showcasing a demo vehicle with its “Intelligent Glass Control” technology at CES from Jan. 6-9, 2016, in Las Vegas.