Smart Glass Opportunities In the Automotive Industry: 2014 Chapter One
This report provides an in-depth analysis of the worldwide market for smart glass used in cars and trucks identifying the main opportunities that smart glass presents for glass and coatings makers as well as for the car firms themselves. In addition, the report includes an eight-year (volume and value) forecast of smart auto glass with breakouts by materials technology and functionality. The report incorporates a technology assessment of the latest smart glass technologies for the automotive sector including self-tinting glass, self-cleaning glass, self-healing glass, and automotive display glass. Applications covered are windshields, mirrors, sunroofs, other automotive windows and dashboards. The report also discusses the glass-related opportunities that NanoMarkets sees emerging as the result of the latest trends in automotive infotainment systems. This report pinpoints the main trends that will shape the revenue potential of smart auto glass in the next decade. Noting that many of the smart glass technologies used in cars and trucks have low performance and short lifetimes, this report analyzes how performance will be improved and how this can lead to enhanced revenue streams for the firms involved with smart auto glass, both as technology providers and as OEMs. Finally, the report also discusses smart glass adoption strategies by the major automobile and light truck companies, along with the product, market and supply chain strategies of key firms that are shaping the market for smart auto.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Smart Glass Opportunities In the Automotive Industry: 2014 Chapter One
Smart Glass Opportunities In the Automotive
Published January 2014
Smart Glass Opportunities in the Automotive Market
This report provides an in-depth analysis of the worldwide market for smart glass used
in cars and trucks identifying the main opportunities that smart glass presents for glass
and coatings makers as well as for the car firms themselves. In addition, the report
includes an eight-year (volume and value) forecast of smart auto glass with breakouts
by materials technology and functionality.
The report incorporates a technology assessment of the latest smart glass technologies
for the automotive sector including self-tinting glass, self-cleaning glass, self-healing
glass, and automotive display glass. Applications covered are windshields, mirrors,
sunroofs, other automotive windows and dashboards. The report also discusses the
glass-related opportunities that NanoMarkets sees emerging as the result of the latest
trends in automotive infotainment systems.
This report pinpoints the main trends that will shape the revenue potential of smart
auto glass in the next decade. Noting that many of the smart glass technologies used
in cars and trucks have low performance and short lifetimes, this report analyzes how
performance will be improved and how this can lead to enhanced revenue streams for
the firms involved with smart auto glass, both as technology providers and as OEMs.
Finally, the report also discusses smart glass adoption strategies by the major
automobile and light truck companies, along with the product, market and supply chain
strategies of key firms that are shaping the market for smart auto.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
E.1 Smart glass opportunities in the automotive industry
E.1.1 Self-tinting glass
E.1.2 Self-cleaning glass
E.1.3 Self-repairing glass
E.1.4 Smart auto mirrors
E.1.5 Information displays – device embedded glass
E.2 Eight companies that will shape the smart auto glass business
E.3 Current and future role for glass and coatings makers
E.4 The future aftermarket sales of smart glass products
E.5 Smart glass opportunities for the automakers
Page | 1
E.6 Summary of eight-year forecasts of smart auto glass
Chapter One Introduction
1.1 Background to this report
1.2 Objectives and scope of this report
1.3 Methodology of this report
1.4 Plan of this report
Chapter Two Assessment of Smart Glass Technologies for the Automotive Market
2.1 Self-tinting windows
2.1.1 Potential use of electrochromic windows in the automotive sector
2.1.2 Can SPD become the preferred technology for auto windows?
2.1.3 PDLC and privacy glass in autos
2.1.4 Thermochromic glass in the auto industry
2.1.5 Photochromic glass in the auto industry
2.2 Self-cleaning glass in the automotive sector
2.2.1 The end of the windshield wiper: an industry myth?
2.3 A future for self-repairing glass in the auto industry?
2.4 Dimmable mirrors and beyond?
2.5 Glass for embedded displays in cars
2.5.1 Glass for heads-up displays and augmented reality
2.5.2 Glass for dashboards, information displays and entertainment features
2.6 Multi-functional glass in the automotive market
2.7 Key points from this chapter
Chapter Three: Applications and Markets for Smart Glass in the Automotive Industry
3.1 Forecasts and forecasting methodology
3.1.1 Data Sources
3.1.2 Economic assumptions
3.2.1 Key design trends impacting the use of smart glass
Page | 2
3.2.2 Key initiatives by leading automakers
3.2.3 Eight-year forecast of smart glass in windshields by type and functionality
3.3 Sun roofs
3.3.1 Key design trends impacting the use of smart glass
3.3.2 Key initiatives by leading automakers
3.3.3 Eight-year forecast of smart glass in sunroofs by type and functionality
3.4 Other windows
3.4.1 Eight-year forecast of smart glass in other windows by type and functionality
3.5 Dashboards, infotainment and other auto display applications
3.5.1 Smart glass enhancements for conventional dashboards and infotainment
3.5.2 Smart glass for heads-up displays and augmented reality in cars
3.5.3 Eight-year forecast of smart glass for auto display applications
3.6.1 Rearview mirrors – how Gentex has been so successful
3.6.2 Smart glass for other auto mirrors
3.6.3 Eight-year forecast of smart glass for auto mirror applications
3.7 Summary of eight-year forecasts of smart glass in automotive sector
3.7.1 Breakout by material/glass type
3.7.2 Breakout by type of functionality
3.8 Alternative scenarios
3.9 Key points from this chapter
Acronyms and abbreviations used in this report
About the author
Page | 3
Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background to this Report
Smart glass is defined in different ways by different sources. In essence it is glass—for windows,
displays, etc.—to which “smarts” have been added, either by coating or laminating some smart Page | 4
material or by embedding sensors or other electronics. Smart glass can be used in buildings and
also in cars and trucks, which is our primary concern here.
Smart glass can provide a variety of capabilities for auto glass—self-tinting (a.k.a. self-dimming)
windows, self-cleaning windows, self-repairing windows and enhanced in-car information and
entertainment systems. In fact, smart glass has been providing functionality of this kind for many
years, but has never shown signs of being much more than a tiny market niche within the huge auto
Until very recently, the addressable market for smart auto glass has never seemed to extend much
beyond luxury vehicles or (in a few cases) car enthusiasts who buy aftermarket products. And the
low performance of many smart auto glass products makes it quite difficult for many smart auto
glass products to penetrate to any great degree even the small addressable markets.
This rather pessimistic appraisal of the here and now for smart auto glass seems to contrast with
the high level of interest that NanoMarkets is seeing in smart auto glass at major glass makers,
electronics firms, and car companies. We think that this dichotomy can be explained by the fact
that the potential for smart auto glass seems to fit into three key trends in the auto glass sector and
in the auto industry more generally: cars and trucks becoming “smart objects,” improved fuel
economy and response to environmental considerations, and changing design priorities.
In all three cases, the challenges to revenue are both technological and market oriented. The glass
and coatings industry must find ways to improve the performance of smart auto glass. The car and
truck makers must find ways to turn smart glass into buying points for customers. At present, the
rush to install smart glass in the automotive sector is mainly on the supply side.
1.1.1 Automobiles, Glass and the Internet-of-Things
Automobiles are considered likely to become important nodes in the coming Internet-of-Things (IoT)
by important players. For example, California and Nevada already have rules governing robotized
autonomous driving. And the IEEE is designing standards for an on-board local area network (LAN)
that operates at 1 Gbps.
Meanwhile, the role that glass will play in the automotive IoT is testified to by Corning’s promotional
movie, “A Day in Glass,” which shows how new forms of glass will play a key role in the evolution
of both homes and cars. As NanoMarkets sees it, there are three types of smart glass-related
opportunities emerging from the automotive IoT:
Enhanced control of existing smart glass products. Some existing “smart” glass
products actually respond to the environment in a dumb way! Thus, passive self-tinting
glass, tints when the light is strong and becomes less tinted when conditions darken. In a
car, one might want more control reflecting other comfort and safety requirements. Active
self-tinting glass provides additional control with use of more sensors and systems
Sensors and other devices embedded in glass. Heaters and antennas have been
embedded in glass for many years. However, the emergence of vehicles as part of the IoT
suggests that more complex devices will need to be embedded in glass in the future. For Page | 5
example, where auto glass serves in instrument displays and displays for entertainment
sensors, there may be an opportunity to embed sensors for gestural control or various other
kinds of electronics for heads-up displays, etc.
Opportunities for new kinds of display glass for smart auto systems. NanoMarkets
anticipates new kinds of displays such as transparent, curved and flexible displays. The
glass for these displays will not actually be smart. Rather, the opportunity will be for new
kinds of display glass for enhanced intelligence in the car itself. Corning’s “A Day in Glass”
implicitly emphasizes this kind of opportunity
All of these apparent opportunities should be seen in context. IoT is a concept that is getting a lot
of airplay in technical circles, but is still not talked about much among the general public. In the
best of worlds, IoT will become the key shaper for electronics over the coming decade – and smart
glass will be able to leverage this trend to generate new business revenues.
But if the general public sees nothing to get excited about in IoT in cars – or in IoT more generally,
the smart auto glass opportunities may not emerge. The bottom line here then is that betting smart
glass opportunities on cars becoming smart objects is risky business!
1.1.2 Environment, Fuel Efficiency and Smart Glass
Another megatrend that creates opportunities for smart auto glass is the ongoing concern with fuel
economy and environmental concerns more generally. Unlike the IOT trend, environmental and
fuel efficiency considerations are not “risky.” They have been key to automotive technology and
design for many years now, so it is easier to clearly identify smart glass opportunities stemming
from this trend.
And there do seem to be a number of opportunities for smart glass that flow from environmental
concerns. Some – at least – of these seem to be well understood. Others are just emerging:
Tinted glass cuts down on air conditioning use. Although environmental concerns have
traditionally never been the main reason why tinted windows have been deployed in cars,
they do have a cooling impact, meaning that the car A/C does not need to be used as much
and this contributes both to reduced fuel usage and broader environmental requirements.
Tinted windows have been around for decades, but self-tinting smart windows adds a whole
new level of control and responsiveness to what one has associated with tinted glass using
a retrofit film
Embedding heat and other sensors in windows. This can provide information to
automotive heating and cooling systems that make for more efficient/environmentally
friendly cars and trucks
Photovoltaics integrated glass. This kind of integration has been talked about for many
years, but has become a commercial reality in the past few. The potential here is high,
since photovoltaics could run many auxiliary systems in the vehicle, including lighting, wiper
blades and perhaps even heating and cooling to some extent. With a battery, PV glass
could help provide some back-up power if needed.
It is tempting to see these trends as unstoppable, and—as noted above—the risks associated with
this kind of smart glass are relatively low compared with smart glass products designed to capitalize
Page | 6
on autos as a smart object.
However, caution is advised here. We note that much of the driving force behind fuel efficiency
and environmental concerns in the automobile industry is driven by rising real prices for energy and
this trend might change as the result of an economic downturn or because of the arrival of new
technologies for extracting fuel or powering cars.
With the latter in mind, it is tempting to assume that many of the smart auto glass technologies that
we talk about in this report are a good fit with electric and hybrid vehicles. However, it should be
noted that, despite all the good publicity that environmentally friendly cars get, launching a new
vehicle line can be expensive and difficult as Tesla, Fisker, and Coda and can testify.
1.1.3 Smart Glass, Comfort and Design Trends
But there is very little risk in using smart glass to enhance comfort or to fit in with the latest design
trends and it seems to NanoMarkets that perhaps there is more here for smart auto glass makers
to leverage than from the IoT or energy efficiency meme, even if style or comfort doesn’t get the
focus from smart glass makers. A few areas in which we think that smart glass can make a
difference from a comfort and design perspective include the following:
More glass may mean smarter glass. A long-term trend in auto design is to put more
glass in vehicles relative to the size of the car; especially larger windshields. This is a
positive trend for smart glass, because (1) more glass seems to imply the need for selftinting glass to cut down on glare and overheating of the cabin and (2) with more glass as
a proportion of surface area, designers are more likely to want to position smarts on or in
glass. However, cars have been getting smaller over the years and this balances the “more
Smart glass adds to safer driving. Both self-cleaning glass and self-repairing glass can
be sold as safety and aesthetic enhancers. The problem is that neither of these is ready
for widespread applicability beyond a few aftermarket coatings that don’t last long on the
vehicle and must be frequently renewed. As a footnote, we expect touch-sensors and
(especially) gestural control sensors to be embedded in glass moving forward.
Differentiation: Designers have always seen—and presumably will always see—glazing
as a crucial element in designs that differentiate vehicles in the marketplace. Smart auto
glass can add functionality and “coolness” to vehicles in support of the need to differentiate.
Privacy glass. Privacy windows are associated primarily with limousines and taxis, but
the addressable market may be bigger than that. Self-tinting glass—especially PDLC
glass—provides an upgrade on what is currently used and PDLC firms are targeting this
Some sources on auto design suggest that car designers have lost their way somewhat in recent
years. Perhaps this is because there have been so many changes in the car industry that design
has somehow been forced to play second fiddle. As this balance is redressed, this may be an
opportunity for smart glass.
1.2 Objectives and Scope of This Report
This report identifies and quantifies the opportunities, challenges, and prospects for growth of smart
glass in the automotive sector. Specifically, it analyzes capabilities of current and likely future smart
glass technologies and how these may be deployed in automobiles and trucks. This analysis is
carried out on the basis of the trends that are discussed at the beginning of this chapter.
As we also indicated at the beginning of this chapter, we have adopted a fairly broad definition of
what smart glass is and have included self-tinting glass of all kinds, as well as self-repairing and
self-cleaning glass, as well as various specialized forms of display glass. With regard to
applications, we consider windows (including windshields and sunroofs), mirrors, and
displays/instrument panels. We note that different people have different ideas with regard to what
smart glass is, with some restricting the topic only to self-tinting windows.
In this report we use our market analysis to develop eight-year forecasts for smart-glass
applications in the automotive industry and these projections are developed in volume and value
terms. We are principally concerned with the smart glass itself and the relevant coatings associated
with it. Where relevant we also discuss the manufacturing technologies. All of these forecasts are
developed in the context of important and relevant design, technology and economic developments
in automotive sector itself.
Although the primary goal of this report is to forecast the market for smart glass in the automotive
sector, we also examine how new developments will impact the established players in automotive
glass and how these firms are strategizing for these new opportunities. This report pinpoints the
main trends that will shape the revenue potential of smart auto glass in the next decade. Noting
that many of the smart glass technologies used in cars and trucks currently have low performance
and short lifetimes, this report analyzes how performance will be improved and how this can lead
to enhanced revenue streams for the firms involved with smart auto glass, both as technology
providers and as OEMs.
Finally, the report also discusses smart glass adoption strategies by the major automobile and light
truck companies, along with the product, market and supply chain strategies of key firms that are
shaping the market for smart auto.
This report is international in scope. The forecasts are worldwide and there has been no geographic
selectivity in the firms covered or interviewed in the collection of information for this report. We do,
however, focus our global discussion on certain countries in different regions which we think are
significant growth drivers for smart glass.
1.3 Methodology of this Report
The information in this report comes from a variety of sources, but much of it ultimately comes from
the interviews that NanoMarkets conducts on a routine basis with executives in the smart glass
sector. These interviews include meetings with entrepreneurs, business development and
marketing managers, and in some cases also technologists.
Page | 7
Secondary research for this report was also taken from information available on the World Wide
Web, commercial and government databases, trade press articles, technical literature, information
learned at technical conferences and trade shows, and SEC filings and other corporate literature.
The research and analysis in this report has also relied on other NanoMarkets reports, especially
those that cover smart windows, self-cleaning windows and BIPV. However, whenever information
Page | 8
has been used from an earlier report, we have reinvestigated, reanalyzed, and reconsidered it in
light of the current market status.
The forecasting approach in this report is explained in detail in Chapter Three and in some cases,
the numbers have also come from previous NanoMarkets reports, again updated where necessary.
However, the basic approach to forecasting adopted here is to identify and quantify the underlying
addressable markets and how fast the various smart glass technologies considered in this report
are likely to penetrate the various automotive markets.
1.4 Plan of this Report
In Chapter Two of this report, we examine the various smart glass technologies and products that
are used—or are likely to be used—in the automotive sector. We also discuss the firms active in
supplying these materials and products and the supply chains and strategies that they have
developed. In this chapter we have also included some eight-year forecasts of relevant materials
and products, mostly derived from earlier NanoMarkets reports.
In the final Chapter of this report—Chapter Three—we have included analysis and forecasts of the
automotive smart glass market, broken out by the area in which smart glass is likely to be used
over the next decade. For most of these applications we include a market forecast.