General Motors Is Developing an Auto-Dimming Windshield to Prevent Blinding Glare

The system would also include an AR-based HUD 6 photos
Photo: USPTO
GM patent drawingGM patent drawingGM patent drawingGM patent drawingGM patent drawing
A new General Motors patent describes technology that would allow a windshield to dim at least part of the glass in order to prevent blinding glare when an oncoming light beam is detected.
In other words, when you drive during the night and another vehicle approaches, GM’s new windshield would be able to automatically determine the light intensity of the headlights and control an integrated dimming system.

General Motors, however, says its concept is a lot more complex.

While the glass itself would use electrically adjustable transmittance capabilities, the company says the glass can also be paired with an augmented reality HUD display to further enhance the experience behind the wheel during the night.

The dimming technology is supposed to protect the driver’s eyes from excessive glare, but at the same time, the augmented reality HUD display also helps highlight the incoming vehicle to keep the person behind the wheel aware of what’s happening on the road all the time.

The system is activated only when it detects a high luminous intensity of a light beam emitted by an oncoming vehicle. The intensity is measured against a predefined threshold, and depending on the results, it can automatically adjust the dimming windshield.

The AR HUD screen also comes into play by highlighting the oncoming vehicle and following it as it approaches. This way, General Motors says that not only is the glare reduced, but the driver can also remain aware of the other vehicle’s presence and real-time location.

The new technology is capable of dimming only a certain part of the screen where the driver’s eyes would meet the light beam of the oncoming vehicle.

Dimmable windshields aren’t necessarily a new idea, but General Motors seems ready to push the whole concept to a completely new level. Not only can this technology dim only a part of the glass, but the AR HUD also helps keep track of the other vehicles on the road despite the glass that would typically be produced.

Driving at night can, therefore, becomes a lot easier, especially because, let’s be honest about it, some people don’t care about their headlights at all. And unfortunately, this produces excessive discomfort for the other drivers on the road, sometimes increasing the risk of an accident quite significantly.

This is how products like night driving lenses have become pretty popular lately, as they can help deal with the bright headlights and make driving at night more comfortable overall.

General Motors’ idea could, therefore, address one of the biggest problems for so many drivers out there, but at this point, it’s still too early to tell if and when the technology can reach the mass production stage. A patent, however, provides us with an early look at how a company sees the future of a system, so fingers crossed for General Motors to continue the research work on this front.
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 Download: GM patent for "windshield zone dimming and augmented reality head up display" (PDF)

About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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