From the educational programming, the exhibition and the attendance, the biggest Auto Glass Week™ (AGW) yet is taking place this week at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia. The event opened yesterday with presentations and education, and one very special award.
The day began with the presentation of the Carl F. Tompkins Award, the industry’s highest honor. The award is named for longtime industry veteran Carl Tompkins, the first recipient of the honor, then known as the Auto Glass Safety Award. This year’s winner is Jacques Navant, technical director for The Calibration Station, Don’s Mobile Glass and frogitout tools, all based in California. He also serves as a board member for the Auto Glass Safety Council and chairs its Advanced Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) committee.
“It started as a summer job,” Navant told AGRR™/GlassBYTES.com of his 29-year career in the industry. “I had just finished high school and was contemplating going into engineering or commercial art. I got a summer job at an auto glass company. It escalated into a career. It’s a summer job that never ended.”
Two educational sessions followed the opening presentation. One focused on using artificial intelligence (AI) in the automotive glass industry, and the next discussed the future of glass in automotive design.
In the AI session, Todd Ackerman, CEO of Neural Claim System, pointed out that AI is a very big world and is advancing significantly.
“Why all the rage?” he questioned. Likely, he said, because of big data; computing power continues to increase, as does speed on communication infrastructure.
By 2030, he said, reports indicate $13 trillion in value creation. With this in mind, he noted that some people suggest AI is on the magnitude of smartphones and the internet.
Ackerman explained that AI technologies create systems that can perform tasks typically requiring human intelligence and intervention.
There are several ways AI be used by the auto glass industry. He gave the example of future concepts for the industry as a start. AI models could be used to decode OEM build data and other data providers (with approval). AI could also yield automation tools that provide glass installers with tremendous pre-install intelligence.
In addition, there are AI opportunities with insurance. AI-powered telematics, for example, capture real-time driving data for usage-based insurance; good driving habits are rewarded with lower premiums; and it can encourage safer driving practices.
Other opportunities for the industry could involve training and knowledge sharing, customer interaction and support, partnerships and collaboration.
Ultimately, Ackerman said, AI can create efficiencies and embracing it can lead to differentiation.
“AI is a growing reality. How you choose to deal with it is up to you,” he said. “Technology awaits no one. AI is unfolding before us. It’s impacting our daily lives and impacting our businesses. How we embrace or reject is up to us.”
Dean Bruce, performance improvement manager with Ford Motor Co., spoke next with a look at the future of glass in automotive design. He explained that much of this focus involves safety and the customer’s comfort. As an example, he pointed to what Ford calls Blue Cruise, its hands-free driving feature. Such technologies, he said, are dependent on the glass.
“As we design these vehicles,” he said. “We have to make sure the glass meets these system [requirements].”
One change, he discussed is the shift from movable tempered glass to fixed laminated panoramic roof glass. This gives the vehicle a larger open air feel windshield and optimized aerodynamics.
Bruce talked about OEM-designed coating technologies, such as infrared reflectance and low-emissivity coatings incorporated into auto glass. These coatings are applied directly to the raw surface using physical or chemical vapor deposition processes.
He explained that the coatings are used to prevent heat transfer into or out of the vehicle compartment while meeting all federally regulated requirements for visible light transmittance. He noted that roof glass has no regulated visible light transmission requirement.
Bruce also shared some challenges and solutions regarding coatings on the glass. For example, coatings block IR wavelengths in areas where rain sensors typically operate, while radio frequency shielding blocks cell phones and other satellite-seeking devices. Both of these challenges can be overcome with specific glass engineering and manufacturing processes.
Yesterday’s agenda also included a Q&A style keynote session with five-time Olympian and three-time Olympics gold medalist Shaun White. White sat down with avid snowboarder Daniel Snow, vice president of Glass.com®, to talk about his career, starting up and operating a business and more. He also shared some advice for competitors in this year’s AGW competitions.
“Visualize [the win],” he shared. Throughout his career, he said, he has been a goal-setter and worked to visualize his achievements.
Auto Glass Week 2023 runs through tomorrow. Visit agrrmag.com for more news and updates from the event.