Technology is always marching forward. People just keep trying new things, trying out new ideas. In the future, the practice of cheap windscreen replacement might not be that anymore. Today, it’s just a piece of glass that protects the driver and offer structural support. What will it be tomorrow?
There are many who are looking into using the windscreen as an interface. The idea is that it can be used as a display to show GPS information. Though there are questions on how this can be done without disrupting the driver’s ability to see the road.
Another idea is the installation of a driver-facing camera. This would be designed to track the eye movements of the driver, allowing for other applications.
For instance, glancing at specific sections of the windscreen can automatically control sound and air conditioning systems. This allows you to keep your eye on the road and still control things. It’s all a matter of balance, adding functionality to the windscreen without being a distraction to the driver.
One of the main issues that are keeping the tech from coming out now is safety. All these new features could be overloading the driver.
Another concern in this technological race is the cost. Who, exactly, is going to be paying for this kind of advanced display technology?
Glass manufacturers are going to need to add costs in integrating it. Reliability and quality, as well as quantity, will mean changes to cost with their production. Car manufacturers might not be willing to pay for the additional costs. Some might, but not if they deem it excessive.
Beyond that, there’s also the cost the customers bear. Just how much of it are buyers willing to shoulder, because they’re the ones taking the biggest hit in the end.
The components are already available. The Lexus LS already has a driver-facing camera installed, in fact. The camera is capable of detecting where the driver’s eyes are looking. This includes making warning beeps in case there’s an obstacle and they’re not looking directly ahead.
Concept cars with full heads-up displays are already out. Mercedes-Benz has their dynamic and intuitive control experience (DICE) system. They show a lot of data, including navigation and points of interest, and controllable by hand gestures. These might one day be standard in all cars.
Tests show that it’s not that difficult to handle. However, these are off-road ones. They haven’t seen much testing on actual road conditions.