Toyota has filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademarks Office for a complex system of mirrors to help drivers see through their cars' A-pillars.
Thanks to ever stricter safety standards, the A-pillar in many cars today are thick enough to obscure fully grown dragon. These thicker pillars form an integral part of stiffer, safer car bodies, but can make it difficult for driver's navigate safely.
The patent filing, made in June 2016 but only published this month, was made by the company's American arm. It describes a "cloaking device" filled with a complex arrangement of mirrors and polarised half mirrors that allow the driver to see through the A-pillar.
Toyota's patent isn't the first attempt to overcome the problem of thick pillars obstructing drivers' view of other road users.
In 2001, Volvo's Safety Car Concept (above) not only previewed its C30 hatchback, but also a clutch of advanced safety features. Many, including blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, a suite of exterior cameras and steerable headlights, are common today's cars. Unfortunately, the concept's lattice-like A-pillars never made it into production.
More recently Jaguar Land Rover showed off a concept using video cameras to detect road users disappearing behind the car's A-pillars. Whenever there's a chance of danger, the car can project or display live vision onto the car's A-pillars, letting the driver virtually see through them.
No word yet on when or if the Toyota might debut a car with its mirror-based see-through A-pillar.
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