General Motors has filed a patent application for an augmented reality (AR) auto-dimming windshield to protect drivers from the glare of oncoming headlights.

First spotted by Motor1, the application was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and published Jan. 17, 2023. It describes a lot of added hardware, including an AR head-up display, sensors to detect the amount of light shining on the windshield, and smart glass that allows the amount of light transmitted through the windshield to be electrically tuned.

General Motors augmented reality head-up display patent imageGeneral Motors augmented reality head-up display patent image

If the sensors detect that light shining in the direction of the driver is above a certain threshold, a specific section of the windshield will dim to keep the driver from being blinded. The system detects the position of the driver’s eyes, the position of the vehicle creating the glare, and dims a portion of the windshield to protect the driver. It also creates an image of the offending vehicle on the windshield in the proper position.

This type of system could be a good defense against other drivers who forget to turn their high beams off, although the proliferation of automatic high beams in new cars will make that less of an issue as time goes on.

Auto-dimming mirrors are also a common feature in new cars today, but the idea laid out in this patent application takes the idea a step further. Current auto-dimming mirrors dim across their entire surface, rather than targeting a specific area of glare.

General Motors augmented reality head-up display patent imageGeneral Motors augmented reality head-up display patent image

AR tech means the auto-dimming function could also be integrated with other features, like the AR navigation systems available in some Mercedes-Benz luxury cars. These systems project arrows onto the head-up displays (as well as the center touchscreen) to direct the driver toward their turn. Cadillac also has AR, but it shows up on digital instrument cluster instead of the head-up display.

Like other recent GM patents, including ones for anti-motion sickness technology for autonomous vehicles and dual charge ports for EVs, the AR auto-dimming windshield isn’t guaranteed to see production. Automakers frequently patent ideas without firm plans to commercialize them, so time will tell if this feature appears on future GM vehicles.

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