Gauzy, an Israeli developer and manufacturer of liquid crystal glass panels, or smart glass, has developed a new way to communicate location- and time-based messages on car windows in partnership with Daimler AG, the German car maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
The technology was demonstrated at the AutoBahn Expo Day in Stuttgart, Germany, last week, when startups that took part in the StartUp AutoBahn accelerator presented their projects in front of over 1,200 people, including Daimler’s board and other global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
The accelerator, run by Daimler, gave 13 startups the opportunity to work with large OEMs for 100 days to develop new automotive technologies which will be incorporated into serial production by companies like Mercedes Benz.
In its collaboration with Daimler, Gauzy created what it says is the “thinnest dark retro-fit liquid crystal film” which can be applied to the existing windows of a car, as opposed to being laminated between two pieces of glass during the manufacturing phase. This film allows images and videos to be projected onto opaque windows in HD quality. Gauzy’s liquid glass technology enables car windows to switch from transparent to opaque on demand.
The new film will allow cars to be used, when parked, as platforms for projecting location-based ads, said Brittany Swisa, Gauzy’s marketing director, similar to how posters are displayed on buses today. But the ads on the cars won’t be static and will be location-related, she said.
“Imagine you are walking on a street and you see a line of parked cars with images and commercials on them for events that are going on nearby,” she said.
When the engine starts, the windows become transparent and ready to enable safe driving, she added.
Gauzy sees various ways the messages can be broadcast to the windows taking time and location into account, Swisa said, but would not elaborate further.
Gauzy presented its prototype on the windows of a Smart Fortwo. Daimler will now send a few hundred cars to cities around the world, to use this new technology to communicate messages in a smart way, Gauzy said.
Last July, Gauzy was selected to take part in the accelerator program, which targeted startups that are working on advanced technologies that can be incorporated into motor vehicles. Gauzy was among the 13 companies selected for the program, out of 300 startups that applied globally, the Tel Aviv-based company said.
Gauzy’s patented technology brings high technology to glass and allows for a number of applications, including controlling the transparency of windows to light, creating optical blinds within the glass, making the doors of a fridge fully see-through at a touch, and transforming the glass panels in bathrooms from transparent to opaque for greater privacy