Continental is enhancing and refining its Intelligent Glass Control solution, opening up whole new possibilities for greater comfort, safety and energy efficiency. A modern car contains, on average, around five square meters of glass – almost twice as much as 30 years ago.
Intelligent Glass Control uses special films that are integrated into the glass and change their degree of translucency on the basis of electrical control signals. A range of technologies is available for this purpose, although they present benefits and drawbacks in terms of visual quality and the speed with which a glass pane can be dimmed. Smart windows have traditionally been used for panoramic sunroofs. But now, Continental is using – among other things – an innovative technology that is suitable for all the vehicle’s windows and significantly increases the potential of glass control: LC (liquid crystal) technology offers unprecedented quality for switchable glass in vehicles.
“Windows are becoming an increasingly active, smart component of the vehicle,” says Johann Hiebl, head of the Body & Security and Infotainment & Connectivity business units at Continental. “Intelligent Glass Control is an innovative solution that we are currently developing so that windows can be integrated even more effectively into the car’s user interface. This will make driving more comfortable and safer – and, thanks to new dimming and heating functions, they will also enable significant energy savings. This development work represents an important step on the road toward electromobility and autonomous driving.”
In an LC car window mould, liquid crystals mix with tiny paint particles in a special suspension that is, in turn, integrated into a fine film between two thin glass panes. Under the influence of a low AC voltage, the liquid crystals and paint particles align to either dim or lighten the windows. “This LC-based technology has the potential to enable the ultimate in modern, smart glass pane systems,” says Tobias Frischmuth, technical project leader in Intelligent Glass Control at Continental. “The transparency or opacity of a window can be adjusted within milliseconds. It is crucial that the windows do not exhibit any visible residual turbidity when they are transparent. This technology is also available in different colours.”