Volume 14, Issue 5 - September/October 2012

off the line
oem news from detroit

Mercedes May Make Magic Sidelites
An article in the New York Daily News notes that Mercedes-Benz might be looking to go all the way with its self-tinting windows. The manufacturer’s SL-class Roadster (left)?already makes use of Research Frontier Inc.’s SPD-SmartGlass technology (Mercedes advertises the option as “Magic Sky Control”) that lets drivers control the transparency of their roof with the flick of a switch. According to the article, Mercedes-Benz is looking to make magic in other areas; the company is reportedly developing the tinting technology for sidelites.

Moving Dash Gauges to the Windshield
AutoSpies.com posed an interesting question following Google’s release of a pair of glasses that, though transparent, allow a third-party to see via video link whatever the wearer sees. The glasses feature a camera, processor, memory to spare and wi-fi capability. However, the auto-focused website asks: How soon until this technology is being integrated into your windshield? Picture your transparent windshield overlaid with your dash gauges, the site invites its readers.

On the other hand, WebProNews points out Google’s introduction might already be old news. The BMW Head-Up Display (right) from BMW ConnectedDrive projects the current speed or navigation instructions directly into the driver’s field of vision—letting the driver keep his eyes on the road.

New Side Mirror Gives Drivers Back Their Sight
Drexel University mathematics professor Dr. R. Andrew Hicks has obtained a U.S. patent for a side mirror that eliminates drivers’ blind spot. According to the university, Hicks’ driver’s side mirror (left) has a field of view of about 45 degrees, compared to 15 to 17 degrees of view in a flat driver’s side mirror. Unlike with simple curved mirrors that can make straight lines appear curved, in Hicks’ mirror the visual distortions of shapes and straight lines are barely detectable.

Because U.S. regulations dictate that cars coming off of the assembly line must have a flat mirror on the driver?s side, Hicks? mirrors will not be installed on new cars sold in the U.S. any time soon?but may be sold as an aftermarket product.

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