Corning Gorilla Glass Helps Transform the Automobiles of the Future

When it comes to concept cars, auto enthusiasts tend to set aside traditional expectations.

Instead, they think beyond the everyday. They marvel at innovation and design so extreme that they’re suddenly thinking about cars and other devices in entirely new ways.

That’s exactly what’s happening with the Rinspeed Etos, the 2016 concept car which transforms the stylish BMW i8 with a host of futuristic features.

The flashiest feature of all is a drone with a built-in landing pad made from Corning® Gorilla® Glass.

Rinspeed, a Swiss firm known for creating memorable automotive concepts, chose to work with Corning not only for the Etos drone landing pad and docking station, but also for its sunroof, rear window, and interactive display console.

Gorilla Glass is lightweight, tough, and optically clear and improves automotive performance and enhances the overall driving experience, as showcased by the Etos.

  • Use of Gorilla Glass in laminates can reduce automotive weight by up to 30%, compared to cars using conventional auto glazing. This, in turn, can improve fuel efficiency, handling, and braking.
  • A Gorilla Glass-covered display console provides a superior touch response and optical clarity along with remarkable scratch resistance – a must for any smart surface in a busy environment.
  • The drone landing pad, integrating a two-ply Gorilla Glass laminate with an anti-glare surface, is tough enough to gleam like new even after repeated launches and landings.
  • When the landing pad is activated, brilliant LED lights shine clearly and without distortion through the Gorilla Glass rear window, alerting other motorists to movements of the Etos drone.

Besides its aesthetic appeal, Gorilla Glass also offers significant advantages to automakers wanting to make cars more environmentally friendly, said Rinspeed CEO Frank Rinderknecht.

“Material like Gorilla Glass gives us the advantage of saving a lot of weight in the car,” he said. “And that’s the best way to be sustainable and energy efficient -- no matter whether the car is powered by fossil fuels or batteries.”

The Etos set off a positive buzz among automotive writers and other industry leaders when it debuted at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The momentum continued with appearances at the Geneva Auto Show and other high-profile venues.

The drone system sparks the imagination of the crowd at every stop. Rinspeed’s promotional video suggests use of the drone to pick up fresh flowers as a romantic gesture en route. Other industry observers imagine the drone becoming a sort of personal assistant on the road – getting meals, fetching forgotten items from home, or taking photos of the trip.

The visionary leadership evident in the Etos is what makes the Rinspeed and Corning work so important, said Doug Harshbarger, division vice president and business director, Automotive Technologies, Corning Emerging Innovations Group.

“Corning started showcasing its vision for the future in the ‘A Day Made of Glass’ videos several years ago,” Doug said. “We’ve continue to build on that vision, and the innovative thinking we see in the Rinspeed Etos concept car is right in line with ours.

“We believe more than ever that glass is a vital part of this larger story. And we’re proud to team up with Rinspeed in showing how design and science can profoundly reshape the driving experience of tomorrow.” 

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