Virtual Visor

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Virtual visor from Bosch
The Virtual Visor uses cameras and software to protect drivers from glare without obstructing the view.

Life on the open road is about as good as it gets, but it does have its downsides … like annoying and potentially dangerous sun glare.

For grey nomads who spend countless hours behind the wheel, driving into the sun’s blinding rays can be a bit of a nightmare. Apparently, temporary blindness is a contributing factor in over twice as many car accidents as other weather-related phenomenon, including rain, fog and snow.

Luckily, nearly 100 years ago, some genius invented the world’s first sun visor and these now rather-primitive-seeming board-on-a-hinge inventions continue to be the way we block the sun. Unfortunately, however, current visors tend to do their job at the expense of visibility from the vehicle.

German industrial company, Bosch, has finally decided it is high time that modern technology transformed the humble sun visor … and the result is eye-catching. Bosch’s Virtual Visor is a high-tech solution which allows full vision through the windscreen by only blocking out the sun where it is reaching the driver’s eyes.

The device is made up of a single, transparent LCD panel, which is linked to a driver-facing camera. Artificial intelligence-based facial detection and eye-tracking software determines where the driver’s eyes are. It then uses intelligent algorithms to analyse this information and will darken only the portion of the windscreen through which the sun would dazzle the driver.

As the driver moves, so does the blocking. The key benefit of course is that 90% of the visor remains transparent at all times, so the driver can still see out far more effectively than he or she otherwise would with a conventional fabric-covered visor.

It also means less fiddling with sun visors so hands can stay on the steering wheel. The Virtual Visor can apparently use the same mounting hardware as existing sun visors so could potentially be integrated into current vehicle design with minimal modification.

While this is still a prototype, Bosch says it is already in discussions with at least one automaker about going into production, although this might still be several years away.

  • Do you sometimes struggle with visibility when driving into the sun? Would you miss the traditional fold-down sun visor (and its mirror) or do you think the Virtual Visor is long overdue? Email us here to share your thoughts.
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