Using trick mirrors to improve visibility
Cars these days are far safer than they used to be, but those safety improvements caused some other unfortunate issues. You’re much more likely to survive a rollover, for example, but to make that happen, automakers had to use thicker pillars to support the roof. Especially when making a left turn, those thicker pillars can block your line of sight. Toyota’s solution? Just make those pillars invisible.
Internet car sleuths recently unearthed a patent application from Toyota that uses a series of mirrors to make a car’s A-pillars look like they’re invisible. As the application explains it, “light from an object on an object-side of the cloaking device is directed around an article within the cloaking region and forms an image on an image-side of the cloaking device such the article appears transparent to an observer looking towards the object.” See? It’s simple. At least the idea of using mirrors to bend light around the pillar is simple. The execution will probably be a little more difficult.
If Toyota could actually get this to work well enough to put it into production, it would be way more practical than adding screens and cameras to a car’s A-pillars. But at this point, it’s just a patent application. Toyota has yet to even show off a prototype. Until that happens, it’s much more likely that this concept never becomes a reality.
Of course, if Toyota ever does figure out a way to make it work, it would be super cool. Who wouldn’t want a car with a cloaking device?
Source: Toyota, FreePatentsOnline