Bosch's "Virtual Visor" selectively blocks out the sun based on eye movement.
Say, you know that big, burning ball of gas that appears in the sky each morning and disappears every night? It's called the sun, and it's a major contributor to traffic accidents, with temporary blindness from sun glare causing twice as many crashes as any other weather-related condition. In fact, an NCBI study suggests that the risk of a car crash rises by 16 percent in bright sunlight.
For nearly a century, drivers have gotten by with sun visors - simple, opaque panels mounted to the car's headliner on hinges, so that they can be swung out to obscure the sun when needed. Now, Bosch - the monolithic German automotive supplier - wants to completely reinvent the humble sun visor.
Bosch's "Virtual Visor", shown at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, is mounted to the car's headliner like a standard sun visor, but it consists of a transparent screen with liquid crystal cells that can selectively, individually be made opaque. During vehicle operation, a driver-monitoring camera sends continuous visual data to an artificial intelligence system, which tracks shadows on the driver's face and notes the position of the driver's eyes.
Armed with that information, Virtual Visor is able to "block" only those liquid crystal cells that align with the driver's eyes, keeping the rest of the visor transparent.
In that way, Bosch's Virtual Visor will automatically block out the sun's glare when and where it's needed, leaving the rest of the panel transparent for greater visibility.
The Bosch Virtual Visor is still likely several years out from production, but it has plenty of traction already, having received a Best of Innovation nod in the CES 2020 Innovation Awards, in the In-Vehicle Entertainment & Safety category. Furthermore, Bosch says it's already in talks with at least one automaker and one commercial truck manufacturer. Or we could perhaps see the Virtual Visor in a car like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which has a long history of being first-to-market with cutting-edge new safety tech, before you know it.