The Sun visor in our cars, their appearance has not changed for almost 100 years. It is affectionately referred to as an oldie in the interior, waiting more or less uselessly on the windshield for use. If it is then used when the sun is low, the oldies reach their limits and often only help the driver little - he is still blinded. The US federal road and vehicle safety authority NHTSA counts thousands of accidents caused by glare every year. Ordinary sun visors protect drivers from annoying backlight, but when they are folded down they block the unobstructed field of vision. For 2018, the Federal Statistical Office reported 3.756 accidents in Germany with the aforementioned causes.
What is different about the sun visor now?
With the digital, transparent sun visor, Bosch has found an interesting solution for all drivers. The tried and tested sun visor is being replaced by the virtual visor, the new sun visor. This is equipped with a transparent LCD display and a camera aimed at the driver. Thanks to intelligent algorithms, the display is only ever darkened in the area in which the driver is blinded by the sun. The rest of the view of the road remains clear because the rest of the display remains transparent. Dr. Steffen Berns, Chairman of the Divisional Board of the Car Multimedia division, enthuses: "With the Virtual Visor from Bosch, drivers have a clear view of the traffic situation". With the transparent digital sun visor, you too can reach your destination more comfortably and safely.
Bosch is reinventing the sun visor
- Blinding sunlight causes most weather-related accidents.
- Thanks to artificial intelligence, only those areas through which the driver is blinded are darkened on a transparent LCD display.
- Dr. Steffen Berns: "Small invention, big impact: with the Virtual Visor from Bosch, drivers have a clear view of the traffic situation."
- The digital sun visor from Bosch is awarded the "Best of Innovation" award from CES® 2020; World premiere at booth # 12401 in the Central Hall.
The organizers of the world's largest electronics trade fair (CES) have already given the new transparent digital sun visor a “Best of Innovation” award. A jury made up of designers, engineers and representatives from technology media gave the Bosch innovation its highest rating in the In-Vehicle Entertainment & Safety category. In another of the 28 categories of the CES Innovation Awards, the Virtual Visor also received an honoree award.
Intelligent sun visor for the 21st century
The Virtual Visor works with an interior camera that looks at the driver's face while driving. Intelligent algorithms based on artificial intelligence (AI) recognize both the areas of the face such as eyes, nose and mouth, as well as the shadow that the sun casts on the driver's face. They constantly analyze where the driver is looking and only darken a small area on the display so that there is only a shadow in the area of the driver's eyes. "Early on in the development process, we found that many drivers permanently adjust the traditional sun visor so that their eyes are in the shade," says Jason Zink, technology expert at Bosch in North America and one of the co-inventors of the Virtual Visor. The driver's field of vision is usually restricted by traditional sun visors. "This finding was of crucial importance for our concept of the Virtual Visor", says zinc. This is how the idea was born to use the well-known LCD technology - by the way, LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display or liquid crystal screen - in order to specifically darken individual areas on the display and thus leave the driver's field of vision as large as possible.
Innovation from the recycling bin
From the idea to the concept to tests and sample construction - the virtual visor was only possible thanks to lean start-up methods and an open innovation culture at Bosch. Employees develop the ideas for new products themselves, define the properties, analyze the market potential as well as the technical and legal feasibility. Subsequently, experts assess the concepts and release further development steps. "At Bosch, we are rethinking leadership and collaboration - with a clear impact on the culture of innovation. We encourage our employees to act on their own responsibility and to put their ideas for new products into practice. "says Bosch North America boss Mike Mansuetti. This is how the Virtual Visor was created as part of an internal innovation initiative by a team of three engineers who otherwise develop drive solutions. After a concept phase, the team around Jason Zink built the first samples to apply for internal funding for their project.
“As with many ideas that are still at a very early stage of development, we had little money and other resources at the beginning. The first prototype that we used to present our concept came from an old LCD screen that we found in a recycling bin ”says zinc. Their idea and the first prototype were convincing: the team secured the support of managers as mentors and developed more and more sophisticated versions of the system. Today, the Virtual Visor is part of the development portfolio of the Bosch Car Multimedia division. “In a company like Bosch, in which the boundaries between areas and functions dissolve and technical knowledge matters more than rank or hierarchy, innovations can arise anywhere in the company. We want to expand this approach in the future ”, says Mansuetti.
Of course that had not happened yet!
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