Bosch Develops a See-Through ‘Virtual Visor' for Vehicles That Only Blocks Sun Glare
Driving in direct sunlight is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents, as drivers often find themselves suddenly blinded by intense sun glare and are temporarily unable to see their surroundings.
Global auto supplier Bosch unveiled a new type of sunvisor at CES 2020 today that uses a camera combined with AI to intelligently block out the sun, while allowing the driver to see what's behind the sun visor as if it wasn't there.
The Virtual Visor features a single, see-through LCD panel combined with a driver-facing camera with AI facial detection and analysis and tracking software. It uses intelligent algorithms to only block the sun's glare to the driver or passenger's eyes, and not the view of the road ahead.
"Some of the simplest innovations make the greatest impact, and Virtual Visor changes the way drivers see the road." said Dr. Steffen Berns, the head of Robert Bosch Car Multimedia GmbH, which develops automotive technology solutions for Bosch.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports thousands of sun glare-related car accidents each year, while another another study revealed that the risk of a car crash is 16% higher during bright sunlight than normal weather.
The traditional sun visor is not equipped to adequately address this safety concern. While a traditional visor blocks some of the sun from a driver's eyes, it obscures a significant portion of the view of the road ahead.
The Bosch Virtual Visor acts like a pair of sunglasses, protecting a driver's eyes from sun glare.
The Virtual Visor links an LCD panel with a driver or passenger monitoring camera to track the sun's casted shadow on the driver's face. From here, the system utilizes artificial intelligence to locate the driver within the image from the driver-facing camera. The AI-powered algorithm analyzes the driver's view in real-time and darkens only the section of the display where the sunlight hits the driver's eyes.
The use of liquid crystal technology to block a specific light source decreases dangerous sun glare, driver discomfort and accident risk. It also increases driver visibility, comfort and safety, according to Bosch.
The rest of the display remains transparent for greater visibility, unlike a traditional visor which obscures a large section of the driver's field of vision.
"We discovered early in the development that users adjust their traditional sun visors to always cast a shadow on their own eyes," said Jason Zink, technical expert for Bosch in North America and 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."
The virtual visor is only just for passenger cars, it can be used in semi-trucks, as well as emergency or police vehicles to make driving safer.
Bosch's Virtual Visor was honored as a Best of Innovation in the CES 2020 Innovation Awards. It also received the Best of Innovation for the In-Vehicle Entertainment & Safety category.
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