Smart Windshield: The Tech Worlds Hopeful Leap Into A Safer Commute

It’s hard to go a day without hearing the word smart interjected in front of an item. From smartphones to smart homes, it seems as if every entity is becoming, well, smart! Vehicles are certainly no outlier in this smart world. Nowadays, vehicles are equipt with hoards of technology; infotainment systems, auto brake, park assist, assisted lane change, and the list goes on. What’s under the hood is also going smart, with some automakers adapting smart drive train technology to keep drivers safe in any condition. What other parts of a vehicle can possibly go “smart”? Smart windshields. Not many people would think that a vehicles auto glass could go “smart”, but tech and auto companies are merging together to make this concept a feature used by the everyday driver. While not something out Oakville auto glass shop currently carries, should it make its way around the industry, we will surely grab a piece of smart glass technology!

What are smart windshields and what do they do?

Smart windshields display information that would normally be displayed on your infotainment system and beyond. They work to transform your driving experience and outline things such as; road signs, upcoming closures/traffic, the potential for collision, navigational arrows, etc. They can take over commands that your infotainment system or dashboard would typically display including;
  • Speedometer
  • Odometer
  • Incoming texts/calls
  • Bluetooth commands
  • Audio
  • Warnings/maintenance requirements
There are a few automakers and third-party product creators that have created small devices that would project such information onto your windshield. These typically reside on the dash behind the steering wheel in plain sight for the driver. However, these devices and the ones implemented in some vehicles currently take up only a small portion of the windshield and work as a projection.

How can smart windshields make a vehicle safer?

It’s no secret that a majority of us utilize some type of tech within our vehicle while driving (it’s important to note texting and driving is illegal and should never be done). Some actions we do may seem harmless, albeit any distraction is a distraction. Changing the song on your infotainment system, glancing sideways over at the map, looking at whose calling prior to answering – these are all seemingly harmless actions that could have detrimental consequences. Although smart windshields are just another piece of tech, it all comes down to the placement. When it comes to infotainment systems or any other device, we are left looking away from the road when checking them, making adjustments, or doing just about any action. Even looking at our speedometer keeps our eyes off the road for a split second. While some tech devices in vehicles are set in place to rid the temptation to utilize one’s phone, their placement can still pose a distraction. Smart windshields aim to place any necessary or even potentially distraction information in front of the driver as opposed to around them. The displays sit behind the steering wheel at eye-level so the driver can view such information without having to look down or to the side. Tech companies hope that this will aid drivers in driving safer simply because it allows them to do what they do while keeping their eyes locked on the road. No more glancing down at your phone or tilting your head to view your infotainment system!

What are the downsides of smart windshields?

A distraction is a distraction, no matter what. While the placement of the information you want or need is such that it doesn’t cause you to look away from the road, it can still act as a distraction when not utilized correctly. For example, displaying texts, changing songs, viewing maps – while your eyes may still be on the road, they are still not 100% fixated on it. Drivers may get distracted by what’s in front of them which could still be grounds for detrimental consequences.  Another factor tech companies and automakers worry about is the potential for hackers. As tech advances and more features become implemented, there is more room for hackers to get their way. How can hackers pose a threat to a smart windshield? They can hack into the system and display overwhelming information and potentially compromise the view of the driver. However, this concern is not as prevalent as the distraction component – tech companies tend to have very secured networks and when it comes to safety, they will most likely double down.

Would a smart windshield be compromised if the physical windshield itself is damaged?

While still in the early phases, tech companies and automakers are working out all the kinks when it comes to optimizing smart windshields prior to releasing them to the public. While a chipped, cracked, or warped windshield won’t impact the technology itself, it can impact the safety of the driver. In relevance to smart windshields, any damage could warp information displayed causing it to be poorly placed and hazardous. Any damage to a windshield should be fixed immediately to avoid further damage as well as avoid any dangerous situations for the driver. As the world evolves and becomes more tech-centric, items most wouldn’t deem “techable” such as auto glass are breaking norms. Tech moguls are finding new and innovative ways to make the world a little smarter every day. When it comes to smart windshields, there are positives and negatives, however, over time, these tech companies and automakers aim to make driving as safe as possible for drivers and those around them. Before making the move to smart, make sure your windshield is in tip-top shape! Contact us today for a free repair or replacement quote! Tags: