I have several ideas of how we could improve cars and driving; I imagine the subject is pretty common because we’re surrounded by and rely so heavily on vehicles. I previously talked about improving cars usability by allowing users to configure their displays and controls. With the recent heat wave I can’t help but think of ways to help keep cars cool. A lot of us use car shades to block a bit of the sun, but we could do better in terms of efficiency and ease-of-use. The idea I keep coming to: cars could automatically black-out the glass when the car is off. (The technology exists and is called smart glass.)

Having heavily tinted windows would keep the car cooler, but the benefits don’t stop there! This would also provide security because people would not be able to see your valuables. Smart glass would also greatly increase privacy as no one could see if you’re in the car changing clothes, shaving, taking a nap, etc.

I do not know of any cars that apply the technology, but I saw the idea “implemented” in the vampire movie Daybreakers. The trailer quickly shows how the vampire can black out the windows in his car around 1:04 in. Have you seen the concept anywhere else?

What would this feature be worth to you? I think I’d be comfortable paying another thousand dollars for a car using smart glass that would stay cooler in the summer, provided added security and allow more privacy. What do you think?

Update: Steve pointed out the physics fail of having black windows (black would absorb the heat and the glass would trap it inside the heat, making the effect even worse). The idea of dynamically changing the glass to reduce heat stays the same, but we would want a reflective surface rather than a dark surface. And while I’m making updates based on physics, let’s put a one-way release valve near the top of the car so that convection can push warm air out of the vehicle!