To be honest, a lot of us can take or leave some of the new safety features developed in the last couple of years. But here is something that technology has bequeathed upon us that we really want. Bosch has developed a “virtual visor” that actually improves driving by blocking out the sun blinding your view.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are thousands of accidents every year due to sun glare. Other studies posit that your risk of crashing is 16% higher during bright sun conditions. Sun visors help. But the nasty Mr. Sun always seems to peek around the edges or between the visor and headliner. They usually never work 100% of the time.
The tech replaces the visor with a transparent LCD tied to a camera
Bosch’s answer is a transparent LCD tied with a camera replacing the traditional visor. According to Bosch, the “technology utilizes intelligent algorithms to intuitively block the sun’s glare and not the view of the road ahead. For most drivers around the world the visor component as we know it is not enough to avoid hazardous sun glare, especially at dawn and dusk when the sun can greatly decrease driver’s vision.”
“Some of the simplest innovations make the greatest impact, and Virtual Visor changes the way drivers see the road,” says Dr. Steffen Berns, president of Bosch Car Multimedia. He’s right. And, the judges at the 2020 CES show did too. The Virtual Visor was awarded the Best of Innovation in the Vehicle Entertainment and Safety category. The judges include designers, engineers, and members in tech media.
Grids darken when the system detects sun cast into your eyes
How Virtual Visor works is the LCD panel is linked to a camera that monitors the driver’s face. It tracks both the sun and features of the driver’s face. Grids in the LCD darkens when the system detects the sun being cast into the driver’s eyes. The remaining grids stay transparent.
“We discovered early in the development that users adjust their traditional sun visors to always cast a shadow on their own eyes,” says Jason Zink, one of the co-creators of the Virtual Visor. “This realization was profound in helping simplify the product concept and fuel the design of the technology.”
So liquid crystal technology blocks the sun’s glare to increase driver visibility, which increases safety.
“We’ve built a culture around empowering our associates by putting them in the driver’s seat,” says Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch North America. “As a leading global technology provider we understand that innovation can come from any level of an organization, and we want to see that grow.”
Where and when the Virtual Visor becomes utilized as either an aftermarket or production item remains to be seen. We hope it’s sooner rather than later as it’s a problem those who drive have encountered almost every time we drive.