Volvo's New Display Screens Could Span the Entire Front Window

And it could become the new normal for future cars.
Ameya Paleja
Artist's rendition of what the display will be likeVolvo Cars

Volvo Cars has taken a strategic investment leap using a venture capital investment that could help the company transform the windshields in its upcoming cars into full-scale heads-up displays, a press release from the company said. 

With a vision to rapidly incorporate advanced technologies on its vehicles, the company set up a Volvo Cars Tech Fund in 2018. The venture capital fund gives Volvo early access to high-potential technology startups across different areas such as autonomous driving, electric transportation, and artificial intelligence, all of which are expected to make radical changes in the automotive industry.

Volvo's recent investment in the Israeli startup Spectralics gives the Swedish company the opportunity to revolutionize the in-car user experience by turning the entire windshield into a heads-up display. According to the press release, the startup has a background in developing aerospace tech and is focused on developing better images. However, instead of working on just one aspect, the start-up is leveraging hardware, software, and even materials to improve the final product. 

Of special interest to Volvo is the startup's core product, multi-layered thin combiner (MLTC), a new type of optical film that can be applied on any type of surface or size. When applied to glass, it can be used to overlay images, making it an ideal candidate to make a full-scale heads-up display. 

Car manufacturers have been tinkering with the idea of a windshield display for a few years now.  While this is a great way to ensure that the driver does not take his eyes off the road, currently available displays are rather small, either due to cost constraints or to ensure that they do not become the cause of distraction. 

Spectralics' solution allows Volvo to offer a full-scale heads-up display that assists the driver by displaying only pertinent information. As Popular Science notes, the tech could be combined with forward-facing cameras to scan for road signs or spot obstacles that could be brought to the driver's attention on the display. Volvo also holds patents for heads-up displays, even though we haven't seen them in production cars yet. 

The association with Spectralics could bring out driving assistance tech that could rapidly become a norm in the industry. 

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