Introduced Dreamliner Boeing Electronic Dimming GlassJanuary 11, 2020
Electrochromic glass panels used to barely penetrate the automotive industry, but it seems that this will change soon.
Moving the blinds up or down on the plane or in the back seat of your Uber Black is a past century. Pressing a button these days can almost completely electronically darken any of these glasses. Global car supplier Gentex is offering electrochromic windows for the powerful Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and now new glass will appear on 777 and some Airbus aircraft. While standard technology has been used for many years to electrically darken rear-view mirrors and even appeared in limited form in Mercedes-Benz roof hatches, the Gentex display on the CES 2020 included several new elements of this technology in car windows. Here are a few options in which this magic technology can get into new cars in the coming years:
This application is faced with the least amount of obstacles, and therefore, it may be the first to really find its place in the market, because there are no rules for the light transmission of hatches. In addition, Mercedes has been offering electrochromic, dimming glass roofing panels (supplied by another company and sold under the name “Magic Sky Control”) for many years.
The rules allow the upper parts of the windshields to be darker than the rest of the glass, so that the strip of the visor with a variable shade, such as electrochromic hatches with a variable shade, also does not encounter serious legal obstacles. However, it will still be necessary to somehow implement it. The challenge here is to create an invisible border for the electrochromic and clean areas of the windshield.
The rules around the rest of the car windows, namely for the side and rear windows, are still stricter. This situation poses a new challenge for Gentex engineers: increasing the light transmission of electrochromic layers. These days, even when turned off, these panels are able to transmit only 55% of the incident light – which does not meet the 70% minimum requirement of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Gentex also began manufacturing smoke detectors, and one of its technical displays at CES showed this strong point: a smoke detector that can be integrated into the HVAC duct can detect traces of tobacco smoke or product fumes and notify the vehicle owner or fleet operator.
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