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Smart glass for future cars

The vehicle industry is changing fast. As technologies are developed to facilitate the self-driving cars of the future and new mobile services are developed, the multifunctionality of glass will become increasingly important. Electric car manufacturer NEVS has collaborated with RISE to gain access to expertise.

Established in 2012, NEVS is based at the former home of Saab Automobiles in Trollhättan. The company expects to have a new factory for the production of electric cars up and running in China during 2018. Although this new factory has the very highest priority, there is also a need to identify and evaluate innovative technical solutions for future vehicles. At the present time, the company is involved in some ten external R&D initiatives, including the Glass Reality project in which NEVS and RISE are studying opportunities for integrating smart glass functions into vehicles.

Bodil Ahlström, project manager at NEVS with responsibility for the company’s research portfolio and external network, contacted the RISE glass research team in 2015.

“I was afforded an insight into the experimental and general research being conducted into glass as a material during a visit to RISE in Växjö. Even if NEVS is skilled at using glass as a competitive edge on the production line itself, we lack the basic knowledge of the material’s properties that RISE researchers have.” she explains.

Can glass be used as warning system?

The possible future needs of vehicle users are being studied in combination with the functionality of glass. Can glass be used as a warning system, for example to indicate obstacles on the road? Or as a digital information screen to greet the driver and confirm their car rental booking, and to display integrated map functions? The possibilities are endless.

“Trends such as self-driving vehicles and car sharing have accelerated the development of smart functions. Users are beginning to expect the same functionality from their vehicle as from their smartphone,” says Jerry Eriksson, project manager and glass researcher at RISE.

Bodil Ahlström sees a continuation for the project as NEVS develops its next generation of products.

“This will provide us with a palette of technologies to choose from. For us, collaboration is important as a means of gaining access to expertise in an efficient manner. With a number of parties involved and sharing the project budget, we can also create a broader project content,” says Bodil Ahlström.


Facts

NEVS was established in 2012 when the company purchased Saab Automobile. The company designs and manufactures electric cars and mobility solutions.

Research into glass at RISE is largely concentrated in Växjö and is conducted in collaboration with the building and vehicle industries, as well as to a certain extent in combination with IT and communications technology.