Hyundai Designs Sunroof That Can Throw Shade Wherever It Wants

Technology / 1 Comment

It uses smart blockers to control the interior shade.

According to a new patent found by CarBuzz at the US Patent and Trademark Office, Korean engineers have devised a way to use a host of input sensors to operate a "smart blocking unit" in the glass sunroof, to distribute shady spots throughout the vehicle as required by the occupants. This will bring natural light into the cabin of a Hyundai Ioniq 6 without frying its occupants.

Interior data input revolves around a camera and light intensity sensors around the cabin. The camera is tasked with detecting the positions and movement of the occupants, and the light intensity sensors determine how much light is available at various locations around the cabin.

Along with the camera system, there are exterior roof-mounted sensors to determine the intensity of the incoming natural light, as well as its orientation relative to the vehicle.


The driver's input in this process is a request for a certain level of ambient light in the vehicle. In this case, natural light will be the primary light source during daylight hours, but this can be augmented by interior-mounted lighting units controlled by the same logic if the natural light is below the level desired by the driver.

Suppose the available natural light will make the cabin brighter than desired. In that case, the intelligent blocking units will automatically darken to bring the ambient light down. If it becomes cloudy, the darkening will lighten up to maintain a constant light intensity to the vehicle's interior.

Many control algorithms are built into the control unit to decide which light source should be prioritized. If natural light is the dominant contributor, this controller will activate the innovative light-blocking units in the roof glass to either darken or become lighter. This will regulate the overall light level entering the vehicle to either dim or brighten the interior light.


The control unit also determines the lighting around the occupants and can darken specific areas in the roof to keep its occupants cool in the shade. Working with the roof-mounted light sensor and the interior camera, the system will also move the darkened areas over the vehicle occupants to ensure they're not exposed to direct sunlight regardless of the vehicle's travel direction.

A key technology here is electrochromic glass inlays in the sunroof panel, which can change their opacity and/or color in response to the application of an electric voltage. This is not new technology, but how it is applied here is unique. It would be nice if you could roll back the sunroof's shade and drink in some natural ambient light on your gray commute, yet not experience physical discomfort due to direct solar radiation while driving.

This innovation can make this possible, and it relies primarily on available technology, so there's no major obstacle to seeing it in a production Kia or Hyundai soon.


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