Car Window Technology with Integrated Lighting

SABIC's integrated window lighting exploration includes both decorative and functional aspects.

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In step with the increasing trend of automakers exploring new ways to use light, SABIC has been actively aiming to develop PC windows with integrated lighting.

 

The company first disclosed its efforts at the 2015 International Symposium on Automotive Lighting held in late September in Darmstadt, Germany, where its showed a rear-quarter window produced through two-shot injection molding with Lexan PC and Cycoloy PC/ABS resins. It features two sets of decorative lighting components: two blue LED light pipes and a white LED guide with white laser-etched graphics—elements that are largely decorative.  

 

However, SABIC says integrated lighting can serve a variety of functional purposes. One potential use, illustrated by the company in a concept sketch, entails a lighting component built into a lightweight PC window which indicates the battery status of an electric or hybrid vehicle—from green for fully charged to red for critical condition. Such a feature could alert a driver to the state of battery charge without need to enter and start the vehicle.

 

Says Scott Fallon, senior director of SABIC’s automotive business. “Our customers are always looking for new ways to surprise and delight consumers…Combining PC glazing with lighting technologies opens up a whole new range of possibilities to help them do this.” Automakers already add lighting touches to various vehicle components—door handle pockets, side mirrors, along the interiors of doors, instrument panels, center consoles and cup holders.

 

As a leading developer of PC glazing for automotive windows, SABIC says that in addition to launching new an unprecedented levels of functional integration, such developments can reduce weight by up to 50% vs. comparable glass materials, depending on the complexity and design of the window part. The company envisions lighting features in windows both enabling new styling and branding solutions and displaying other kinds of useful information, beyond the battery charge status. These might include:

 

• Adding signature lighting or side markers on window surfaces to help better distinguish vehicle models and enhance consumer appeal.

 

• Using colored light for brand enhancement.

 

• Using window lighting to put on a show outside of the vehicle when parked, including projecting patterns or imagery on the ground.

 

• Displaying warning messages.

 

• Displaying dynamic turn indicators and hazard light signals.

 

• Enhancing nighttime safety.

 

• Allowing for animated welcome and goodbye gestures.

 

• Adding ambient lighting features to enhance interiors.

 

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