Glass technology in vehicles is moving at warp speed. Collision warning systems, automatic braking, lane alert programs, heads-up-displays, and all the cameras and radar these features entail, are here to stay. These are likely to show up in more and more models in the very near future.
Though options vary by vehicle, here are some examples of the features you might find on your vehicle (or request on your next one):
• Side blind zone alert;
• Forward collision warning;
• Lane keep assist;
• Rear-cross traffic alert;
• Adaptive cruise control with collision warning;
• Front and rear-park assist; and
• Night vision assist.
Collectively, these types of features are known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS for short.
A variety of this glass technology shows up right on (and sometimes in) windshields.
“I am seeing antennas or wire in the glass,” says Bill George, director of marketing at NSG Pilkington, a well-known auto glass manufacturer. “Those transparent wires are allowing us to do a lot of different things within the glass.”
The benefit of these systems is that they save lives, he says.
“They improve the safety of car occupants and improve the safety of pedestrians,” George explains. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says car-to-car communications could prevent 600,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives annually.”
The Cadillac 2017 model will feature Super Cruise, which is technology that takes control of steering, acceleration and braking at highway speeds of 70 miles per hour, he notes.
George forecasts a 70 percent increase in vision, laser and radar systems over the next four years.
A front camera mounted by the windshield is used in many GM models.
“As we keep finding different and better ways to do some of these driver-assistance systems, the type of sensors we use will continue to change and get better,” says John Capp, GM’s global vehicle safety director. “They will get more advanced and we will get into automated driving … Right now, Cadillac has six radar points, plus 10 to 12 ultrasonic sensors and cameras. Already today’s cars have a lot of sensors that ‘look’ around you as you drive. It will continue to get more advanced.”
Several Honda and Acura vehicles feature one or more of the following systems: Adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist system and road departure mitigation.
Audi has offered driver’s assistance features for years, according to Mark Dahncke, product communications manager. Among these, Audi’s night vision assistant scans the area in front of the vehicle using a thermal imaging camera and highlights any pedestrians detected at distances of approximately 15 and 90 meters.
With all of Audi’s upper-level vehicles now offering automatic cruise control, Dahncke says it’s only a matter of time for driverless vehicles.
“Once you have automatic cruise control, you have cameras and radars. There isn’t a lot of difference between that and offering autonomous technology. Automatic cruise control allows you to set up the speed you would like to go as the maximum and it will calibrate the car based on traffic in front of you,” he says.
Here are a few of the more common makes and models that were spotted at the D.C. Auto Show sporting ADAS:
Manufacturers are also starting to add larger, more expansive sunroofs to some of their models. With bigger views of clear blue skies and star filled nights, panoramic sunroofs and windshields are also becoming more popular.
Though these panoramic sunroofs aren’t becoming mainstream as fast as ADAS is, a number of vehicles at the Auto Show showcased this feature, including the Fiat 500 L, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Edge, Nissan Maxima and the Mercedes C Class. The Tesla X is currently one of the only vehicles in the U.S. offering a panoramic windshield, but it likely won’t be alone for long.
As these trends make their way into the market, check back with Glass.com for the latest updates in these technologies.
While windshields are a crucial part of a vehicle’s safety system, they also add to a vehicle’s aesthetics and technology.
Whether or not your vehicle has exceptionally large expanses of glass or is equipped with the latest technology such as ADAS, your windshield is crucial to your safety and it’s important to find the right shop to replace or repair it. Use our auto glass locator service to find a shop today.
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