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Tesla Glass

Mo City

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
1,910
11,883
near Houston
Tesla Glass: the electric automaker’s latest top-secret program

While on one hand Tesla can appear to be a fairly open company, especially considering they open-sourced their patents and Elon Musk is quite a talkative CEO; on the other hand, Tesla is also keeping a lot of cards close to its chest and secrecy is an important part of several of the automaker’s programs.

The automaker’s latest top-secret program is called ‘Tesla Glass’…

What is ‘Tesla Glass’?

To be honest, we don’t know exactly, but we bet it will be pretty cool.

We received an anonymous tip about the program that really didn’t say much, but after looking into it, we were able to confirm that a ‘Tesla Glass’ program does exist at the automaker. It was created earlier this year when Tesla started assigning staff on the project.

It is based out of the company’s Design Studio in Hawthorne, California, where the company conducts all its design work and some high-level engineering, and it is led by Tesla director Mike Pilliod and program manager Kate Kuzina.

That’s about the extent of what we can confirm about the program because again, Tesla is being secretive about it and no one is talking. From this point on, everything should be considered purely speculative and based on what we have been discussing at Electrek, but we do have some pretty good leads.

First of all, Tesla loves glass. It might be using more glass in its vehicles than any other automaker.

It started with the Model S’ panoramic roof:







Then Tesla introduced the panoramic windshield in the Model X. It’s the largest windshield in production:







And finally, Tesla will also offer an all-glass roof option for the Model 3:








…but all these features were created before the ‘Tesla Glass’ program, so what is this new program about?

Looking at the background of the program director, Mike Pilliod, might be helpful. Prior to joining Tesla, Pilliod was one of Apple’s top materials engineers. He is named on a long list of patents at the Cupertino company, most of them having to do with innovations in glass touchscreens and electronic devices using glass, like the iPhone.

According to the patents, he even worked directly with Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer.

Based on his experience, it might have something to do with Tesla’s screens. Tesla is certainly not short on glass touchscreen real estate in its vehicles:








The name of the program itself is interesting for its resemblance with ‘Google Glass’, Google’s half dead optical head-mounted display program.

We reported earlier this year that Tesla had been using Google Glass hardware at its Fremont factory. Now that was for Tesla workers, not something the automaker intended its customers to use in its vehicles, but could a similar head-mounted device be useful to Tesla drivers?

The consensus at Electrek is that ‘Tesla Glass’ has something to do with a Heads Up Display (HUD). Tesla did hire some HUD experts in the past few years to work on its Autopilot program, like Milan Kovac, who is now Engineering Manager of Autopilot Embedded Systems at Tesla, and Yonggang Ha, a Staff Optical Engineer on the Autopilot team.

Whether the HUD is integrated with the windshield, something already available in some luxury vehicles today and even in easily installed aftermarket products, or if it is head-mounted, which ends up having the same properties of a HUD, or something else entirely, is up for debate.

Interestingly, both previously mentioned engineers hired by Tesla have a lot of experience with see-through head-mounted displays. Ha holds several patents related to the technology and Kovac was the principal engineer of the SKULLY augmented reality motorcycle helmet, which features a head-mounted display:


I would think something in the windshield is still more likely, but I wouldn’t necessarily discard the idea of a head-mounted device. Either way, something beyond just incorporating speed and trajectory, but also data from the Autopilot sensors would be interesting.

What do you think? What is ‘Tesla Glass’? Let us know in the comment section below or reach outvia email.

Footnote: There’s already a product unrelated to Tesla Motors called ‘Tesla Glass‘. It’s an adhesive filmthat can turn transparent glass opaque with an electric current. Coincidently, SpaceX has the system in its Hawthorne offices and here’s Elon Musk making a demonstration:
 

mhan00

Active Member
Oct 13, 2014
1,310
1,736
Southern California
Really hope Electrek is right and it's a HUD based system. It would be really awesome if future SEXY Models had an upgrade option to enable advanced HUD systems that would show exactly what the future, presumably more advanced Autopilot systems were seeing.
 
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ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,395
14,407
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Footnote: There’s already a product unrelated to Tesla Motors called ‘Tesla Glass‘. It’s an adhesive filmthat can turn transparent glass opaque with an electric current. Coincidently, SpaceX has the system in its Hawthorne offices and here’s Elon Musk making a demonstration:
If Tesla Glass turns out to have created a glass product that allows for control of the opacity of an apparently clear piece of glass, that would have obvious utility in glass used in a car above the passenger compartment.

It would be cool to have a glass roofed car (like the Model 3 prototypes) where the driver could specify the opacity level and the car would adjust it automatically in response to changing light conditions.
 

NikeWings

Active Member
Apr 7, 2016
2,117
2,848
California
There is bar/restaurant in downtown Manhattan that had bathroom doors that change opacity depending on whether you were entering or exiting. The Tesla glass tech must have more coolness like displaying the interactive sky guide app so we can see Mars, monitor his rockets and track his satellites.
 
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ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,190
18,700
North Bay, CA
If Tesla Glass turns out to have created a glass product that allows for control of the opacity of an apparently clear piece of glass, that would have obvious utility in glass used in a car above the passenger compartment.

It would be cool to have a glass roofed car (like the Model 3 prototypes) where the driver could specify the opacity level and the car would adjust it automatically in response to changing light conditions.
If you remember in the Model X Mule Sighting days, there were indications that Tesla was working with an engineer who was involved in the Boeing 777 electrochromic glass. We had some hopes that would appear in the X, but it never did. Perhaps you're onto something with the overhead glass.

Or perhaps Tesla glass is a way to work around the supplier problems they've run into in the past, like the "ghosting" windshields on the X.
 

NikeWings

Active Member
Apr 7, 2016
2,117
2,848
California
If you remember in the Model X Mule Sighting days, there were indications that Tesla was working with an engineer who was involved in the Boeing 777 electrochromic glass. We had some hopes that would appear in the X, but it never did. Perhaps you're onto something with the overhead glass.

Or perhaps Tesla glass is a way to work around the supplier problems they've run into in the past, like the "ghosting" windshields on the X.
I don't know how you keep track of all these threads......but that ^^ link was very interesting! As a side note, several of those pics showed serious misalignment of the doors too.
 

GoTslaGo

Learning Member
Dec 25, 2015
3,063
4,740
US
There is bar/restaurant in downtown Manhattan that had bathroom doors that change opacity depending on whether you were entering or exiting. The Tesla glass tech must have more coolness like displaying the interactive sky guide app so we can see Mars, monitor his rockets and track his satellites.

What happens when there's someone on both sides of the door?
 

GoTslaGo

Learning Member
Dec 25, 2015
3,063
4,740
US
If you remember in the Model X Mule Sighting days, there were indications that Tesla was working with an engineer who was involved in the Boeing 777 electrochromic glass. We had some hopes that would appear in the X, but it never did. Perhaps you're onto something with the overhead glass.

Or perhaps Tesla glass is a way to work around the supplier problems they've run into in the past, like the "ghosting" windshields on the X.

Thanks for the link! It's cool, in retrospect, to see how Tesla "painted" the roof line forward on the model X and covered the upper glass on the falcon wing doors. Made it look more like a "regular" SUV.
 

MissAutobahn

Elon, please ramp up Berlin GF in plaid mode!
Apr 3, 2016
418
2,130
Germany-Frankfurt
Or perhaps Tesla glass is a way to work around the supplier problems they've run into in the past, like the "ghosting" windshields on the X.

Maybe those "ghosting windshields" are hidden secrets already installed before reveal AP 2.0? A display windshield would be ... emmm... spaceship?
 

Cattledog

Active Member
Supporting Member
Feb 9, 2012
2,226
3,355
San Antonio, TX
This design is a little overcooked but a full touch dashboard would be interesting,
IMG_9202_a_bit_too_bokeh.jpg
 

ShockOnT

⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️
Jun 26, 2016
3,406
3,189
Sydney
My guesses:
- PV enabled glass (home and vehicle use), or
- just boring old windscreens, they want to be able to make their own custom shapes without paying a 3rd party too much
 

HankLloydRight

No Roads
Supporting Member
Jan 18, 2014
13,068
11,317
Connecticut
While changing opacity glass panes are cool, they have been around for a long time (I remember seeing them in a bathroom in Europe at least ten years ago).

My guess is the HUD tech everyone was speculating on for the M3... and possibly making it into future MS/MX models.

I also like the idea of virtual side mirrors... but what happens when the passenger has their window down? :)
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,395
14,407
West Vancouver, British Columbia
If you remember in the Model X Mule Sighting days, there were indications that Tesla was working with an engineer who was involved in the Boeing 777 electrochromic glass. We had some hopes that would appear in the X, but it never did. Perhaps you're onto something with the overhead glass.
Yes I remember that fevered speculation about how the X was going to have an electrochromic glass windshield, and then...it didn't. ;)

By the time the 3 goes into production late next year it will be a few years since the X design was finalized before production, so Tesla may well have made a lot of progress onl "controllable" glass since then. Maybe next year we will see the results.

And by the way, my prediction is that any revolutionary new features in the 3 will first be implemented in the S and X. Elon has stated that the S and X will always get the latest tech and cool new features first, before the lower priced models (3 and Y). So we will see the latest and greatest features in the S and the X before they make it to the 3 (and some of the coolest features likely never will make it into the 3 because of the need to keep the product lines differentiated).
 

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