Self-Tinting Windows? Ford’s Got ‘Em

Ford Global Technologies is seeking a patent for a system capable of automatic window tinting.

According to the filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, published May 9, 2023, the “occupant light exposure detection system”  would include processing and memory capabilities, with the latter storing instructions for the former.

Those instructions allow the processor to determine, using an image of the occupants based on skin reflectance and reflected-light intensity, the radiance levels coming through a vehicle’s glass surfaces. The system would also be able to differentiate between different types of intrusive light, such as sunlight versus light from oncoming headlights.

“Light from light sources such as the sun can enter a vehicle cabin through vehicle windows. Thus, a vehicle occupant may be exposed to light,” Ford writes in its application. “A location of an occupant in the vehicle, a direction and a location of the vehicle, etc., may affect which portion of an occupant’s body is exposed to the light. Exposure to light such as sunlight may cause discomfort for the occupant, may interfere with occupant vision, or cause other difficulties.”

When activated, the system could even actuate a number of vehicle components and capabilities. Those include vehicle cooling and heating, seat adjustments and even window tinting.

“For example, transmittance of electrochromic glass may be controlled by an amount of an electrical voltage applied to the glass,” Ford writes. “The computer may be programmed to actuate an actuator to apply a voltage to window glass to adjust window transmittance, thereby reducing or increasing the amount of light penetrating the vehicle interior through the respective window.”

The system could also adjust headrests and sun visors in an effort to keep light from hitting the motorist’s face at particular angles. Should the system flag that light is penetrating vehicle glass, the visor could reposition itself to prevent occupant exposure.

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