How Toyota Could Deliver TV to Cars With Smart Glass

Inventors at Toyota are looking at using video projectors and “smart glass” to deliver entertainment programming and social network content to vehicle passengers, according to several recent patent applications obtained by The Donohue Report.

By attaching a polymer dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC) film to windows, the auto giant could display images and video that may be visible to both passengers inside a vehicle and to viewers on sidewalks or in other cars. The projectors could be mounted on the floor of a car or “in the vehicle headliner, within the vehicle door structure, or in the exterior door panel,” according to Toyota.

“The driver can select entertainment content for display to child passengers,” Toyota states in a patent application titled, “Interactive Window Display System With Vehicle Function Control.” James Pisz, Toyota corporate manager of North American business strategy, and Jason Schulz, Toyota’s Los Angeles-based business development and partnerships manager, are the inventors.

A patent application that appeared in the USPTO database on Thursday detailed how Toyota is exploring how to use PDLC displays, also known as “smart glass,” to deliver social network content on automobile windows. In addition to displaying Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Toyota1feeds on windows, Toyota’s invention would use cameras attached to vehicles to shoot photos of landmarks, and automatically post updates to the social network feeds of drivers and passengers.

“During the drive, the vehicle’s navigation system periodically prompts the system to take a picture of the passing landscape, particularly when the vehicle is passing a landmark or other designated point. The system posts the picture to User A’s account on social networking service X, along with a text-based comment such as ‘Passing Mt. Clancy. ETA 45 minutes.’ As User A and User B reach their destination, the system posts a comment to User A’s account on social networking service X, ‘Arrived at mom and dad’s house,’ Toyota states in the patent application, titled, “Automated Social Network Interaction System For A Vehicle.”

toyota2The Toyota patent applications focus on how an interactive display system could provide entertainment for passengers, and how passengers could use the system to reduce distractions for drivers by sending maps and other information to dashboard displays.

But with self-driving cars on the horizon, the Toyota inventions offer a glimpse at how personalized video programming and advertising could one day be delivered to both passengers and drivers in cars built with smart glass.

Recent Toyota patent applications containing potential use cases for cars with smart glass include: