Key Trends and Opportunities for Smart Auto Glass

Topics Covered

Introduction
Smart Auto Glass
Automobiles, Glass and the Internet-of-Things
Fuel Efficiency, Environment, and Smart Glass
Smart Glass, Comfort and Design Trends
Conclusion
About Nanomarkets

Introduction

A glass material becomes smart glass when it is coated or laminated with some smart material or when sensors or other electronics are embedded into it. Smart glass has found used in buildings as well as in vehicles. This article presents the viewpoints of NanoMarkets on smart auto glass.

Smart Auto Glass

Smart glass can impart many different capabilities for auto glass, such as self-repairing windows, self-cleaning windows, self-tinting or self-dimming windows, and improved in-car infotainment systems. For many years, smart glass has been serving as a small market niche for luxury vehicles or car enthusiasts buying aftermarket products, within the huge auto glass sector. In addition, the poor performance of many smart auto glass products limits many smart auto glass products to penetrate to any great extent even the tiny addressable markets.

However, according to NanoMarkets, the potential for smart auto glass likely fits into three key trends in the auto glass sector and in the auto industry more generally: vehicles becoming ‘smart objects’, improved fuel economy and response to environmental concerns, and changing design priorities. In all three trends, the challenges to revenue are both market and technological oriented. Hence, the glass and coatings industry needs to take efforts to enhance the performance of smart auto glass. The vehicle makers need to determine find ways to make smart glass as selling points.

Automobiles, Glass and the Internet-of-Things

According to NanoMarkets, the automotive Internet-of-Things (IoT) bring about three types of smart glass-related opportunities: enhanced control of existing smart glass products; sensors and other devices embedded in glass; and opportunities for new kinds of display glass for smart auto systems to improve intelligence in the car itself. Since IoT will play a key role for electronics in the years to come, smart glass can make use of this trend for generating new business revenues. However, if automotive IoT fails to impress common people, then betting smart glass opportunities to convert vehicles into smart objects is a risky business.

Fuel Efficiency, Environment, and Smart Glass

Raising concern over fuel economy and environmental impact is another megatrend creating opportunities for smart auto glass. However, environmental and fuel efficiency concerns are not ‘risky’ compared to the IOT trend. Environmental concerns hold potential for a number of opportunities for smart glass. Some of the opportunities seem to be well understood, but others are just emerging. Self-tinting smart windows minimize air conditioning use in vehicles.

Another opportunity is embedding heat and other sensors in windows to provide data to automotive heating and cooling systems, which lead to more efficient/environmentally friendly vehicles. Photovoltaics integrated glass is another emerging opportunity owing to the ability of photovoltaics to run several vehicle accessories. With a battery, PV glass is able to deliver some back-up power if required. Although this trend is less risky, caution is advised because rising energy prices is driving force behind fuel efficiency and environmental concerns in the automobile industry and this scenario could be changed due to an economic downturn or the advent of new technologies for powering vehicles or extracting fuels.

Considering this fact, many of the smart auto glass technologies see to be good fit with electric and hybrid vehicles. Nevertheless, introducing a new line of environmentally friendly cars can be costlier and more difficult and can testify.

Smart Glass, Comfort and Design Trends

Using smart glass to improve comfort or to fit in with the latest design trends has very little risk, thus providing better opportunities for smart auto glass makers compared to the IoT or energy efficiency meme, according to this report from NanoMarkets. A long-term trend in auto design is to mount more glass in cars corresponding to their size. This is a positive trend for smart glass owing to the requirement for self-tinting glass to reduce glare and overheating of the cabin. Moreover, with more glass as a proportion of surface area, designers may prefer to position smarts on or in glass.

Considering the safety aspect, both self-cleaning glass and self-repairing glass can be marketed as safety and aesthetic enhancers. However, the lack of widespread applicability of these glasses is a drawback. NanoMarkets expects integration of touch-sensors and (especially) gestural control sensors in glass moving forward. Smart auto glass can provide functionality as well as ‘coolness’ to cars as an aspect of differentiation. Privacy windows are related mainly to limousines and taxis, but the addressable market may be huge. Self-tinting glass, particularly PDLC glass, provides an improved version on what is presently used and PDLC firms are focusing this market.

Conclusion

According to some sources on auto design, car design has somehow been forced to play second fiddle due to the several changes taking place in the car industry. If this balance is leveled out, then this may be an opportunity for smart glass.

About Nanomarkets

NanoMarkets is a leading provider of market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets. Since the firm’s founding, NanoMarkets has published over one hundred comprehensive research reports on emerging technology markets. Topics covered have included OLED displays, lighting and materials, thin-film electronics, conductive inks, transparent conductors, renewable energy, printed electronics and other promising technologies. Our client roster is a who’s who of companies in specialty chemicals, materials, electronics applications and manufacturing.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Nanomarkets.

For more information on this source, please visit Nanomarkets.

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