Discussing the future of Automotive Glazing

Roundtable Sessions at the 10th CTI Conference!

At the 10th International CTI-Conference “Automotive Glazing Europe” the participants at various roundtables discussed the current trends, opportunities and challenges in the field of automotive glazing. The discussion on latest developments gave insight into the topics that drive the industry and how it can fulfill the current and future requirements. Of course, here as well, e-mobility and its impact on the glazing industry was one of the dominating topics as it is the case in most car related fields nowadays:

Table 1: Roof systems of the future

The first round table, chaired by Hagen Rakus, reflected on the ongoing discussions about safety, styling/design, solar energy, individualization and technical functionalities in regard of future roof systems. Participants agreed on the fact that roof systems will be multi-optional and will include lots of functions in the future, such as

  • Lighting/ ambient light
  • personal differentiation and safety
  • switchable light transmission increasing the thermal comfort of passengers
  • increasing anti – noise comfort
    solar functions
  • lightweight design
  • sun/infra red light protection to reduce the TTS

Additionally they will:

  • be easy to open
  • be of larger surface wider and longer
  • not shatter under all circumstances

To achieve the latter, the glass lids are expected to be laminated, probably with Gorilla glass and coated and will use modern coating and film/foil technology. Even plastics like PC or PMMA might be used. Furthermore, new combinations and material mixes are possible. But above all things, technical legislation and homologation need a renewal.

Table 2: eHorizon, what do we expect from the future?

Continental had recently implemented their dynamic electronic horizon (eHorizon) in a series of demo vehicles. Using this system the data is sent from sensors to the backend and then back to the vehicle in order to obtain high-precision mapping and road information. The system improves the energy use for hybrid and electric vehicles, adaptive cruise control and augmented reality functions. Of course the safety issue is also dominant as events after a turn or hill can be highlighted this way. Referring to this technology, the second table which was chaired by Wolfgang Erner, echnology Manager Europe, NSG Pilkington Automotive, was dedicated to e-mobility and its importance for the glazing industry. It has been controversially discussed and the topic has been quickly split into the positions “it will be useful” (and therefore also wanted) and “nice to have” (but is not attractive enough to actually generate paying customers). Clearly the Continental thinking for warning the passengers about i. e. accidents behind a barrier (turn, hill, etc.) was seen really as safety enrichment such as the speed fuel control can also participate. The idea that technology development in the area of autonomous driving would try to link the car with other things of the environment at all costs and that thereby a too great distraction would arise, was rather doubted. There was some doubt that the windshield would be used in the future to entertain or inform the passenger as headrest monitors already do, today. Where and how this will take place depends, of course, on how fast and how far autonomous driving will be accepted. Even the entire use of all glass surfaces in the vehicle appeared realistic to the table, but only when fully automatic driving became a reality. The participants in this discussion could also imagine, that all glass surfaces in the car will be used, when full car automation is achieved.

Table 3: Car, bus, truck – differentiation or common direction in ADAS?

Will car, bus, and truck glazing development head to different directions in regard of ADAS or will they benefit from the same developments? This question was discussed by the third table in the round table session which was chaired by Gerald Alexander Beese, Head of Strategic Project Management bei der KTI GmbH & Co. KG.
For both segments, cars and commercial vehicles, an increase of ADAS systems had already been noticed and is expected to rise in the future. According to the discussants, this is due to both, legal and consumer protection regulations (e.g. Global New Car Assessment Programs (Global NCAPs) which have been established for the promotion of public safety and for the protection and preservation of human life. The opportunity to avoid accidents and to reduce the severity of injuries, which will arise from this technology, was seen as a great advantage by the group.
The shares of ADAS system in the replacement market are today at approx.. 10% at cars and 3% at commercial vehicles, (remark: tendency strongly growing. Furthermore the group agreed on, that “tolerances” are the key issue with regard to future development and the question, which tolerances will be required and possible  for 1) OEMs, 2) ADAS hardware suppliers (such as Bosch, Conti, Denso, Valeo …) and for 3) glass manufacturers. To realize asuccessful tolerance study, the group agreed on the necessity to bring the mentioned parties together at one table to jointly discuss the future requirements and the further steps that have to be taken.