Toyota pillar cloaking device patentEnlarge Photo
Long gone are the days of narrow roof pillars that not only looked good from the outside but provided optimal visibility from inside the cabin. Safety standards, while necessary, have enlarged car pillars to sizes that sometimes make it pretty difficult to check surroundings.
Toyota may have something to counter the annoyance of massive pillars, per its latest U.S. patent. The Japanese automaker has detailed a device of sorts that makes a vehicle's A-pillars completely transparent. No, it's not wizardry, some James Bond gadget, or even video cameras. It actually involves mirrors.
By carefully placing mirrors, Toyota's patented cloaking device makes it possible to bend light around an object—in this case, a vehicle pillar—and see the other side of it. This sort of technology already exists today, but with the help of cameras and other expensive components. Therefore, Toyota felt a more practical and less expensive option was deemed necessary.
It's not clear if and when Toyota will implement the cloaking device solution, but the patent was filed by the company's American arm. With that said, it's likely the solution would be implemented on the automaker's U.S. cars and trucks. We may not ever see a day when thin, creatively-crafted vehicle pillars return, but we suppose at least seeing around the massive structures is better than nothing.