Toyota looking to make car pillars invisible in the future
In an attempt to improve visibility and safety, Toyota has lodged a patent in the US for a cloaking device that would make car pillars totally invisible to the driver.
The thick roof pillars on modern cars help make the bodies stronger and more resistant to damage from crashes. They are undoubtedly a necessary feature of all cars, but they can negatively impact visibility in certain situations.
So what can be done?
Well, Toyota has lodged a patent that could make car pillars literally invisible!
According to the filing, which was lodged by Toyota North America with the US Patent Office, Toyota is looking to utilise a ‘cloaking device’ to effectively make car pillars transparent. The pillars would appear completely invisible to drivers allowing them to look straight through them instead of around, improving safety and comfort.
But the cloaking device Toyota is referring to isn’t quite in the same league as Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility. It uses a set of strategically placed mirrors to bend light around the pillar, enabling the driver to see what’s on the other side. So while the driver would assume they are looking through the pillar, they would actually be looking around it.
Such a setup is actually cost effective and negates the need for lots of cameras and additional screens around the vehicle.
Toyota’s patent is pretty pertinent given the fact that car pillars are wider and thicker than ever due to increasing safety requirements.
So can we expect to see the next-generation of Toyota cars boasting invisible pillars? Not likely. As with most patent filings this is just an exercise for Toyota to show that it has an original idea. There’s no guarantee that it’ll work or even be incorporated into cars going forward if it does.
Pretty cool idea, though, right?