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6 Reasons You'll Want Smart Glass in Your Next Car

May 16, 2023

It's smart, it's glass, and it's in your next car.

Everything is becoming smart—even automotive glass.

Already available in premium vehicles, smart glass technology will be affordable to the masses within the next decade, perhaps as soon as three years.

Smart glass offers numerous benefits, such as customizability, increased fuel economy, and noise reduction. Learn why smart glass will make future vehicles safer and more fun to drive, from adjustable transparency to new display options.

Smart glass originated in the construction industry as architects sought innovative ways to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings while maximizing human comfort.

Now, this technology is coming to the automotive industry in windows, front and back windshields, and sunroofs. While it might not sound like a big deal, it will change how we interact with our vehicles and think about driving.

If you know how a lithium-ion battery works, you'll recognize similarities with a technology known as suspended particle devices (SPD) smart glass. Take a deeper dive into how electrophoresis works at Smart Glass World if you're fascinated by all things physics.

Fortunately, you don't need to understand Brownian motion to enjoy all the benefits smart glass offers.

If you've ever fumbled searching around for your sunglasses... or worse, nearly dislocated your visor trying to rotate it to block the sun, you'll love smart glass. It can block 99% of light.

This is also good news for children in the back seat. While built-in shades protect them from the sun's glare, it often obscures the view. Smart glass can be adjusted to remain transparent or opaque inside the cabin.

Smart glass also circumnavigates the bureaucratic mazes of window tinting laws. While some states allow for dark tints, others allow for none at all. This makes following the laws especially tricky if you live near a state line or travel extensively.

Being able to shade your windows allows for greater protection from the elements, blocking out extremes of heat and cold.

Continental's smart glass even allows variable shading, meaning each window can be darkened individually. This is perfect for those times when you're stuck in traffic, and the sun is beating down on one side of your vehicle.

Thermal control goes hand in hand with fuel economy.

Because smart glass can block the sun, it reduces the need for AC on hot days. This, in turn, saves money on gas because the AC consumes more fuel than any other ancillary feature of vehicles.

Being able to customize your smart glass might mean that one day, your passengers will be able to binge-watch the best of Netflix.

Does this mean your windows will turn into mobile ads, rolling the roads for all to see? It's possible.

Part of the reason smart glass technology is so exciting is that we don't know exactly how it will be deployed. With customization and data collection comes the opportunity for marketing. Before turning all dystopian, let's focus on a technology everyone can agree is important:

Even though technology such as Google Assistant can perform functions to help us keep our eyes on the road, distracted driving continues to be a problem.

Smart glass offers another solution: head-up displays (HUD), which project information in the driver's field of vision. HUDs aren't new. The 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was the first car with HUD, but it only displayed a digital odometer and turn signal information.

In addition to HUD, smart glass could help our frequent traveling companions: dogs. If staying current with the newest technologies to keep your dog safe in the car is a priority, you'll appreciate the ability to make your vehicle's interior impervious to prying eyes.

In addition to keeping out prying eyes, Smart Glass keeps out damaging UV rays.

Smart glass can reduce noise inside cabins. Already being used by the aviation industry, it's likely that noise-canceling smart glass will be a popular feature, especially as vehicles achieve more autonomous driving capabilities and taking a nap on a cross-country trip becomes a possibility.

Unfortunately, right now, vehicles with smart glass are expensive. For example, the new Cadillac Celestique EV features a four-quadrant smart glass roof and a price upward of 300K.

Many high-end vehicles from McLaren, Mercedes, and BMW feature smart glass, along with numerous concept cars. Mercedes leads the pack offering a smart glass panoramic roof in 14 models per an SEC filing by Research Frontiers.

But this will be changing...

Unlike many technologies that seem too futuristic or out of the reach of the common person, smart glass is coming soon to affordable vehicles.

Offering myriad creature comforts ranging from adjustable transparency, thermal control, customization, privacy, and safety, we'll probably wonder how we ever lived without it.

Suzanne is an entrepreneur and automotive business analyst who loves helping people learn about new tech–almost as much as she loves her five cats.