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If you are old enough, you may remember the Jetsons and how cool some of the futuristic gadgets were. We’re not quite there yet but technology has made us a whole lot closer.

Take a car’s windshield for example. Windshields of the (near) future will be smarter, stronger, bigger, and better than ever before and the transformation is already happening!

Windshields will become thinner, stronger, and more eco-friendly. In the last ten years, glass thickness decreased 10% while the use of glass in vehicles has increased by 15%. They are still not like the ones in George Jetson’s flying car but getting closer.

Imagine windshields that don’t need a windshield wiper! Supercar maker McClaren is working on a system that uses high frequency sound waves to scatter raindrops. I have to admit that my son’s massive sound system doesn’t work on doing this.

How about a windshield that can be darkened or lightened by using a switch or an app on your phone? A California start-up company called Sonte Film has already developed one.

Though it’s not needed as much in sunny southern California as it is in other parts of the country, weather warnings like snow, ice on the road, or wet conditions will pop up on the windshield to warn drivers of changing road conditions.

Did you know that Honda and Apple have collaborated on a heads-up version of Siri for car cockpits?

Windshields in the future will recognize hand gestures (fortunately, my windshield hasn’t responded to certain hand gestures I have made while driving). Toyota is collaborating with Microsoft that uses a version of the Xbox Kinect system to interpret gestures in 3D.

Ford already pioneered its SYNC system which can recognize 10,000 different voices (please see my comment above regarding hand gestures).

How about safety glass for a safer vehicle? Windshields are being developed which will gather traffic information uploaded to the cloud by other vehicles and use this information to suggest route changes. Cars will be able to communicate with each other to prevent 76% of all accidents on the road. Windshields in the future will contain eye-tracking sensors which monitors a drivers alertness level to potentially reduce “failure to look” accidents. Land Rover’s Discovery Vision concept has a smart glass roof and windows capable of displaying images such as pedestrians walking through a cross-walk.

We truly are coming upon the age of the Jetsons. Special thanks go out to Safelite AutoGlass for providing most of the information presented here sans my personal comments-Ken May.

Posted 2:26 PM

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