Apple has patented a new technology meant to detect cracks in a vehicle windshield — something you can normally pull off with a human eyeball.
The system consists of a thin layer of conductive film sandwiched in between the two pieces of glass, which can detect the resistance through an electrical signal, according to patent drawings discovered by Road Show.
While it may seem stupid to invent tech to detect things drivers can already easily see, it’s not that simple. Glass can weaken with age, and the system could potentially spot a weakness before it turns into a crack, or a full break.
However, the potential benefits of this system are still dubious, to the customer, anyway. Whether the system detects a break before it happens or not, the glass will have to be replaced. The flip side of that is safety; with many modern vehicles, the glass can actually be part of the structural rigidity of the car’s chassis.
While vehicle owners will likely not see a reason to have a second system to detect cracks, automakers would likely utilize the technology to determine whether or not the glass broke under warranty, as the system will obviously be tied to the vehicle’s computer. It could possibly let the car itself book an appointment automatically to have the windshield replaced.
There is also the chance Apple is just looking to make some more money, and the automotive industry is a good place to do it, especially for tech companies. After all, a piece of “Smart Glass” or “iGlass” as it will inevitably be called, will cost a heck of a lot more than a regular windshield, especially when paired with heated or similarly technological improved glass.