Vehicles are equipped with sun visors located at the ceiling just over the windshield for both the driver and front passenger. A sun visor is completely opaque and when manually rotated downward from the stowed position, can block unwanted sun and glare. Sun visors are also commonly used with visor “wallets” of various kinds to hold papers such as car registration, or media such as compact discs. A newer design of visor is the automatic sun visor. There are several dozen patents for automatic sun visors, expected to eventually replace standard visors in new vehicles.
Automatic sun visors have a few basic, common components. The driver’s visor works independently from the passenger’s visor. A sensor detects the eye position of the car’s occupant(s) and the degree of light hitting the face. When required, a motor deploys the sun visor into the best position by rotating it downward on a track hidden in the ceiling of the vehicle. Automatic sun visors are more like sunglasses for your car, in that the visors are tinted, transparent material. They block sun without blocking the ability to see.
If you have ever traveled east at dawn or west at sunset, you have experienced the aggravation of having to drive directly into the sun. At these times traditional sun visors don’t help. An automatic sun visor is especially effective when a setting or rising sun is entering the windshield just over the dash, or at an extremely low angle. It will also sense and block any blinding reflection off a bumper or rear window of a car that might be stopped ahead, either in a traffic jam or at a stop light.
Another advantage of some models of automatic sun visors is that they can replace sunshades. When parked, sun visors could be lowered fully to cover the entire windshield, keeping the interior cooler. Visors might also be made of transition-like material that can darken or lighten as necessary.
The automatic sun visor is likely to appear first in luxury models of sedans, trucks, sports utility vehicles and motorhomes. As price drops they will presumably find their way into midstream models.
In the not-too-distant past, many consumers gauged the desirability of a new vehicle by quickly checking the dash for a CD player rather than cassette; in this same way consumers might soon be glancing towards the ceiling, taking the manual sun visor to be the mark of yesteryear’s model.