GM Awarded Patent For Auto-Dimming Windshield; Apple Granted Similar PatentsFebruary 1st, 2023 by Chris Collier
General Motors (GM) has been awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a windshield capable of dimming when experiencing excessive glare from oncoming vehicles. In related news, Apple has also been granted two new patents for Project Titan pertaining to “adjustable tinting windows.”
GM’s Patent Details
Published on January 17, 2023, and originally filed in July 2022, the patent from GM Global Technology Operations notes that light emitted from the headlights of oncoming traffic may cause excessive glare. According to GM, that glare can make driving challenging for motorists.
“It is therefore desirable to develop a system and a method that can minimize the effects of excessive glare while driving,” GM writes in the patent.
When the windshield identifies bright lights, such as headlights, appropriate locations of the windshield dim to shade the driver’s eyes from excessive glare. That’s accomplished through the use of smart glass with electrically-tunable transmittance capabilities.
Once the windshield identifies an oncoming vehicle within a pre-determined distance from the host vehicle, it then determines whether that vehicle’s headlights are active. After determining the intensity of the headlights by comparing the incoming beam to a pre-determined threshold, “at least a portion” of the windshield dims.
“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 …”
Visible light cannot pass through the windshield while portions are in the opaque state, while visible light can pass through portions of the windshield in a transparent state.
The system then highlights the other vehicle to “maintain the driver’s awareness of the remote vehicle’s presence and real-time location,” as well as generates a virtual image of the vehicle on the display, according to the application. The image includes a “bounding box” that surrounds the oncoming vehicle, with those capabilities made possible by tracking the user’s eye position and movement.
Apple’s Patent Details
Apple’s granted patents connect to their electric, autonomous vehicle project known as Project Titan, according to Patently Apple. The patents relate to adjustable windows by allowing the vehicle windows to modify tinting and more.
Patently Apple cites that, according to Apple, “Adjustable windows may have adjustable layers such as adjustable tint layers, adjustable reflectivity layers, and adjustable haze layers. Adjustable window layers may be incorporated into a window with one or more transparent structural layers such as a pair of glass window layers. Adjustable components such as adjustable reflectivity layers, adjustable haze layers, and adjustable tint layers may be interposed between the pair of glass window layers. Fixed partially reflective mirrors, fixed tint layers, and/or fixed haze layers may be used in place of adjustable tint, haze, and reflectivity layers and/or may be incorporated into windows in addition to adjustable tint, haze, and reflectivity layers.”
Patently Apple adds that “another aspect to the tinting is that it could provide the vehicle with various levels of privacy. Apple specifically states that ‘higher ratios of reflected external light to transmitted interior light are associated with a greater one-way mirror effect and therefore enhanced privacy.’”
Read the full report here.
Contributing editor Travis Rains assisted with this story.