High-tech windshield developments are around the corner

When people think of cutting edge tech in the auto industry, the windshield is not what comes to mind first. Usually the only time when drivers even notice their windshield is when there’s either a crack or chip somewhere in view (always a good idea to get that fixed ASAP). Little do most know, the windshield has seen some crazy tech advances over the past 100 or so years and has some science fiction-esk changes coming in the immediate future.

Believe it or not, back in the early 1900’s windshields were not even considered standard, they were a luxury! Originally windshields were made of normal glass that you would see on a house or building; however this was not the safest choice as it would shatter on impact sending shards of dangerous projectiles into the cabin of a vehicle, ouch. It wasn’t until around 1904 that a French chemist found that glass covered with a dried resin film would keep its shape and not shatter upon impact. This started the windshield revolution and in 1915 Oldsmobile was the first company to not only make windshields standard but use tempered glass, which is much more like the windshield we know today.

Over the years the windshield has grown much stronger overall but hasn’t really seen any revolutionary tech or features added. In upcoming years this should all change, with additions such as self-cleaning and water repelling windshields to “heads up” displays that allow for drivers to have an abundance of information projected onto the windshield there are just a few of the exciting new developments on the horizon. These high-tech windshields can display things such as speed and navigation information so drivers won’t have to take their eyes off the road. Other displays such as pedestrian detection and weather/traffic updates will aid the driver as well, creating a safer experience for the driver and others on the road.

Other notable developments in windshield tech are optimizing them to be the lightest and strongest possible. Corning Inc. is developing a windshield that actually uses Gorilla Glass, a lightweight high-strength material that is found in smartphone screens. The benefits of having stronger windshields are obvious (better durability, less scratch/chip prone, better rollover protection) but why would you want a lighter one? The answer is simple, better fuel economy (lighter weight of the vehicle makes for better gas mileage). With fuel economy standards the strictest they’ve ever been, companies have been trying to slim down on just about every part of the vehicle, windshields not excluded.

Even though there are some exciting advances in windshield technology coming up, it’s still important to take care of the one you have! That means addressing any cracks, chips, or defects as soon as possible to ensure your safety and increase the life of your windshield. For the best windshield repair and replacement in the Buffalo and Rochester area, look no further than Windshield Centers. We have expert glass technicians and provide convenience so you can get in and get out with the peace of mind your windshield will protect you. Call us at 800 900-1505 to request a quote or schedule your next appointment today!

A Short History of Auto Glass

In the early days of the automobile, the windshield was considered a luxury item by most car manufacturers and drivers. A windshield was commonly considered an add-on feature that would increase the cost of the automobile. And it was typically little more than a sheet of glass that was divided horizontally so that the driver could fold the glass down when it got too dirty.

The windshield was later more seriously incorporated  into the automobile in the early 20th Century, in the years following the invention of shatter resistant glass by French chemist, Edouard Benedictus. In a fortunate accident in 1904, Benedictus dropped a glass flask filled with dried collodium film. While the flask cracked, it did not completely shatter. His invention would provide the foundation for later developments in auto glass technology, and would later be used for windshield glass by the 1920’s.

By 1915, Oldsmobile was including windshields as a standard feature in all of their vehicles. Additionally, Henry Ford began to recognize the importance of stronger and safer windshield glass. Ford would make it mandatory to put laminated glass in all the vehicles coming off his lines by 1919. In the 1930’s, tempered glass began to replace the glass Benedictus pioneered. Made in a process of repeated heating and cooling, tempered glass was surprisingly strong yet thin. Its ability to break down in accidents made it safer for drivers, reducing the chance of broken glass flying into the face of the driver.

In the 1960’s, it became clear that automobiles needed guidelines and safety standards, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was formed in 1970. The NHTSA now sets the standards of safety for auto glass and windshields, dictating the strength and clarity required for automobiles on the road.

 

Windshield Centers is a leading auto glass repair shop located in the greater Buffalo & Rochester, NY areas. Contact us online or at (800) 900-1505 to schedule windshield repair or replacement services today.