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Porsche's Adaptive Lighting: Total Control in Night Driving

Author: Pratik Ghadge on Sep 28,2023
Porsche light control

source: newsroom.porsche.com

Porsche's Variable Light Control system, a groundbreaking innovation, is redefining the luxury automotive experience. This sophisticated technology, rooted in a multi-layered design, promises enhanced comfort and aesthetics for drivers.

The Need for Variable Light Control


In the world of automotive luxury and innovation, panoramic roofs have become a sought-after feature, offering drivers and passengers an expansive view of the sky. However, this aesthetic advantage comes with a challenge: the heating up of the car's interior. On a sunny day, the direct sunlight can make the car's interior uncomfortably warm, affecting the overall driving experience.

Traditional Solutions and Their Limitations


To combat this, car manufacturers have traditionally turned to solutions like tinted glass. Tinted glass, as the name suggests, is a type of glass that has been treated to reduce the amount of sunlight that penetrates through. While it does offer some relief by blocking a portion of the sun's rays, it's not without its limitations. The tint can sometimes be too dark, reducing visibility, or too light, offering minimal protection. Moreover, once the tint is applied, its intensity cannot be adjusted to the changing needs of the driver or the varying intensity of sunlight, making it challenging to select the ideal tires for your driving conditions.

How the Variable Light Control Works


Enter Porsche's innovative solution: the Variable Light Control system. At its default, the panoramic roof appears in a matte white state. This not only adds to the car's aesthetic appeal but also serves a functional purpose by reflecting sunlight and keeping the heat at bay.

Upon starting the vehicle, the roof awakens, reverting to its last selected setting, be it Semi, Bold, or Clear mode. The touch panel, a modern and intuitive interface, allows drivers to seamlessly switch between these modes. In the Clear mode, the roof becomes 100% transparent, while the Bold and Semi modes offer varying degrees of opacity, at 60% and 40% respectively. What's even more impressive is the system's energy efficiency, consuming less than 20 watts.

The Slider Function


Beyond the static settings, the Variable Light Control system introduces a dynamic feature: the slider function. Much like a roller shade, drivers can shield light from the front to the back of the car. The effects are immediate. The perceived and actual temperature at head height drops significantly, enhancing comfort. But the system isn't just for the summer months. In winter, an e-coating on the underside of the roof acts similarly to a knit cap, warding off the cold and ensuring the interior remains cozy.

A Decade of Research


Behind this groundbreaking technology lies a decade of meticulous research and innovation, with Stephan Wetzel, a specialist in automotive glazing at Porsche, at the helm. Wetzel drew inspiration from architectural practices where layers of liquid crystals have been used in windowpanes for temperature management. Under his guidance, Porsche adapted this technology for the automotive sector, addressing challenges like rapid light changes, varying climatic conditions, and intense UV radiation.

Porsche's Variable Light Control system is a testament to the brand's commitment to innovation. It not only addresses the limitations of traditional solutions like roller shades but surpasses them in functionality and efficiency. The system is a perfect blend of aesthetics and technology, ensuring that drivers no longer have to compromise on comfort for the sake of luxury.

The Science Behind the System


Porsche's Variable Light Control system, combined with its cutting-edge active suspension technology, is not just a marvel of aesthetics and comfort; it's a testament to advanced scientific innovation. At the heart of this system is a meticulously designed seven-layered structure, with each layer playing a crucial role in achieving the desired effect.

The Role of the Polymer Matrix and Indium Tin Oxide


Central to the system's functionality is the polymer matrix, sandwiched between two wafer-thin conductive layers of indium tin oxide. This setup is pivotal in determining the roof's transparency. When no voltage is applied, the matrix remains matte, blocking sunlight. However, when an alternating voltage is introduced, a fascinating transformation occurs. The liquid crystals within the matrix rearrange themselves, allowing for a clear view through the roof.

Safety Films and Glass Layers


Panoramic Roof with Sunshine Control

source: newsroom.porsche.com

Surrounding this core are safety films and layers of glass, ensuring the system is not just functional but also safe. The outer layer of the glass is equipped with a silver coating, reflecting the sun's heat, while the inner layer acts as an insulator, maintaining the car's internal temperature. This multi-layered approach ensures that the system is both effective in controlling light and robust enough to withstand the rigors of daily use.

Inspiration from the Taycan's Third Brake Light


The system's design isn't just about functionality; aesthetics play a significant role too. Initially, the technology was envisioned with simple, straight lines. However, this design felt out of place. Collaborating with the Design department, a new pattern emerged, inspired by the Taycan's third brake light. This unique design not only enhances the car's visual appeal but also seamlessly integrates with the vehicle's overall design language.

Positive Secondary Effects


Beyond its primary function of light control, the system offers a range of secondary benefits. The composite glass used in the roof is considerably lighter than traditional single-layered glass roofs. This weight reduction can contribute to better fuel efficiency and overall vehicle performance.

Furthermore, the system provides exceptional insulation, especially in the frequency ranges of music and human voices. This means that external noises, whether it's the hustle and bustle of city traffic or the hum of the highway, remain outside, ensuring a serene driving experience.

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The Future of Variable Light Control


While the current system is undoubtedly impressive, the journey doesn't end here. There's potential for further optimization and customization, adapting to the evolving needs of drivers. Stephan Wetzel, the brain behind much of this innovation, encapsulates Porsche's ethos perfectly. He believes that there's always room for improvement, hinting at even more advancements in the future. His perspective underscores Porsche's commitment to continuous innovation, ensuring that their vehicles remain at the forefront of technology and luxury.

With its blend of science and design, Porsche's Variable Light Control system sets a new benchmark in automotive luxury. As the brand looks to the future, continuous innovation remains at its core, promising even more advancements for discerning drivers.

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