Cars > Tech

Bosch has just invented a virtual sun visor

Because even a simple car part can be improved upon

This may appear funny to you now, but it sounds effective. PHOTO FROM BOSCH

The sun visor is an often-overlooked automotive safety feature. This little sunray-stopper prevents countless accidents by keeping drivers from being temporarily blinded while driving. And now, engineering firm Bosch recently took a look at this standard piece of kit in every car and thought up a way to improve upon the current design. The result is a high-tech version that uses a camera and clever algorithms to shield the driver from any blinding rays of the sun. The Virtual Visor represents the first big change in the design of this car part in almost a century, and has been awarded a prize for being the best in-vehicle entertainment and safety innovation at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

We love complicating what is simple and adequate. PHOTOS FROM BOSCH

Instead of you having to pull down a piece of fabric-covered plastic to hide your face from the low-standing sun, the Virtual Visor allows you to look through a clear LCD display that only darkens the areas it needs to black out in order to prevent the sun from blinding you. This futuristic take on an old feature works by tracking the sun’s shadow on a driver’s face with a camera, which then feeds the visuals through a clever computer that uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to work out the features of the face and where the driver is looking, before switching a certain portion of the display from clear to black.

Obviously, this would mean added cost to the car. Eek. PHOTO FROM BOSCH

It all might sound a bit overengineered, but according to research quoted by Bosch, the sun causes twice as many crashes on American roads as any other weather conditions due to drivers being temporarily blinded. It’s easy to imagine the statistics being worse in sunnier countries like the Philippines. Let’s have this technology then. Or not.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.