Toronto, Ontario — It may not yet replace your trusty pair of sunglasses, but General Motors is hoping that a recently approved patent for an auto-dimming windshield may make some difference for drivers who struggle with headlight glare on the road.
The patent design, first reported by GlassBytes and first filed in July 2022, also stipulates that the windshield system would be paired with an augmented reality heads-up display (HUD), to allow for other vehicles on the road to be highlighted for visibility.
Windshield glare, which is a common cause for headlight recalls, is something that OEMs have long sought to address as glass technology advances in step with other automotive safety technologies.
“It is therefore desirable to develop a system and a method that can minimize the effects of excessive glare while driving,” GM wrote in the patent, which was officially approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last Tuesday.
The windshield would use smart glass to identify the location and source of bright lights, and dim the windshield accordingly, to protect the eyes of the driver.
“The smart glass includes a plurality of segments,” the patent reads. “Each of the plurality of segments is individually configured to transition between an opaque state and a transparent state independently of other segments. The method further includes determining which of the segments of the smart glass have to be dimmed to cover the light beam…”
Essentially, the portions of the windshield in an opaque state will prevent light from passing through them, while transparent portions will allow light beams through.
This both allows the driver vehicle’s windshield to respond to the incoming light appropriately, while also using the data from the light beam to accurately locate and highlight the source vehicle.
What do the glass repair technicians out there think about this? How would repair procedure change with a windshield this complex? Let us know in the comments below.