Volume 12, Issue 3 - May/June 2010

Off the Line
oem glass manufacturing


California Cancels Plans to Enact Auto Glass Regulations
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announced that it will not enact the previously planned California auto glass regulations based on concerns from stakeholders that they might impact electronic device performance, according to a statement from CARB. The regulations were set to be finalized in March (see related story in November/December 2009 AGRR, page 24).

“After listening to this input and accounting for the legal deadline to finalize the rule … we are announcing that the AB 32 ‘cool cars’ rulemaking will cease,” reads the statement. “Instead, the Board will pursue a performance-based approach as part of its vehicle climate change program to reduce CO2 from air conditioning and provide cooler car interiors …”

A mixed response came from across the industry following the decision to cancel plans to enact such regulations. Many glass manufacturers had supported the development of the regulations, which called for reflective glass in vehicles with the model year of 2012 or later, noting they might have helped the promotion of value-added glass, while some repair industry representatives had expressed concerns previously about the regulations.

In light of the announcement, Rob Vandal, director of advanced product development for Guardian Automotive, says many manufacturers had already put a great deal of work into getting ready for the enactment of the regulations.

“Normally after Board approval, which occurred last June, the regulations end up being adopted after the appropriate edits and comments periods have passed,” says Vandal. “In this case, this late cancellation is particularly difficult for the supply base as the proverbial horse had already left the barn. In order to be prepared for 2012 model year the suppliers and OEMs had already made investments and prototypes. These investments are now in question, along with any jobs they created.”

SuperGlass Windshield Repair president David Casey had been in contacwith CARB as a representative of the National Windshield Repair Association about how the regulations might impact windshield repair in the state; he previously advised AGRR magazine/www.glassBYTEs.com™ that he had fears about the requirements and what would happen to repair if manufacturers chose to place the reflective coating on Surface No. 2 of the glass.

“Even though there were a number of reasons that the ‘cool glass’ bill was terminated by CARB, I was very gratified that the director was open to hearing about the repair issue with the coated glass,” says Casey.

GM Working to Develop Advanced Head-Up Display Technology; Would Span Entire Width of Windshield
General Motors’ research and development department, along with several universities, are working on a system that would use data gathered from an array of vehicle sensors and cameras and project images generated by compact ultraviolet lasers directly onto the entire surface of the windshield, according to a release issued by the auto manufacturer.

“We’re looking to create enhanced vision systems,” says Thomas Seder, group lab manager-GM research and development.

Seder is working with Carnegie Mellon University and The University of Southern California, as well as other institutions, to create a full windshield head-up system to use night vision, navigation and camera-based sensor technologies to improve driver visibility and object detection ability.

“Let’s say you’re driving in fog. We could use the vehicle’s infrared cameras to identify where the edge of the road is and the lasers could ‘paint’ the edge of the road onto the windshield so the driver knows where the edge of the road is,” Seder says.

To create the system, the windshield is coated with a series of transparent phosphors which emit visible light when excited by a light beam-in this case from a compact laser-and it becomes a large area transparent display. (Though several head-up display systems already are in existence today, most of these utilize only a small part of the windshield—while this one uses the entire surface.)

“This design is superior to traditional head down display-based night vision systems, which require a user to read information from a traditional display, create a mental model and imagine the threat’s precise location in space,” Seder says.

Officials from General Motors (GM) Corp. say they expect the company’s new enhanced vision system to be available in the next decade, though no particular vehicle line has been targeted. The advanced windshield system currently is in research and development.

Seder adds, “This may seem like a very complex, very wild technology, but in fact, it is being used today in cockpits around the world. Enhanced vision systems are used in many commercial airlines.”


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