Automotive technology firm Continental has developed the Virtual A-Pillar. The Virtual A-Pillar is an OLED display and camera system in the front support pillars making them virtually “see through.” The front support pillars, known as A-pillars, anchor the windshield and the beginning foundation of the vehicle’s roof. However, A-pillars can also obstruct the view for the driver. A-pillars have expanded over the years to enhance rollover safety and meet more rigorous federal roof-crush standards. However, this trend can obscure road users from the driver’s view.
Dr. Karsten Michels, head of Systems & Technology in the Interior division at Continental commented, “By pairing and implementing advanced technology in the vehicle, Continental has created a solution that eliminates the forward blind spots of the A-pillars, helping to reduce a critical safety hazard experienced by so many road users.”
Wider A-Pillars for Safety Mean Bigger Blindspots
Continental says that in some situations, depending on the pillar’s width, a linear distance of over 36 inches can be obstructed at just 12 feet from the pillar. This obstruction distance increases substantially as the distance from the vehicle grows.
Continental designed the Virtual A-Pillar to address the growing problem on vehicles that need widened front pillars to meet mandatory safety testing.
An interior camera mounted in the steering wheel tracks the driver’s head movements. The Virtual A-Pillar pairs this head movement tracking with live exterior images. Therefore, the driver gets an experience more akin to looking through an extended window, rather than a live video feed.
“This new technology allows the driver to see pedestrians and other vehicles approaching from the left and right, which would have otherwise been blocked by the A-pillar,” Michels added.