Worried About Dirty Automotive Touchscreens? GM Has a Fix In Mind.

The company recently filed a patent for new tech

GM logos
Touchscreens get dirty. GM has a solution in mind.
Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you’ve spent any amount of time looking at new cars, especially electric models, you’ve probably noticed an increasing number of touchscreens in the interior. It’s a dramatic shift away from some decades-long design practices, but it’s also easy to see why this approach has caught on — after all, if drivers are using touchscreens on their phones and computers, who not opt for something similar in their car or truck?

The problem with touchscreens in cars, however, is the same problem with touchscreens on any other device — they have a tendency to get dirty. That’s understandable, seeing as nearly any surface that gets touched repeatedly will eventually get dirty. Still, it’s a problem just calling out to be solved.

And in this case, someone has indeed solved it. As Gizmodo reports, GM has developed touchscreens that clean themselves, though it might be a while before you see this technology available as an option at your local dealership. GM’s patent filing for the new touchscreen technology describes the use of a type of violet light that’s invisible to human eyes.

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The touchscreens themselves will be covered by a “photocatalytic coating” which the invisible light will send into action, cleaning the screens when the car isn’t otherwise being used. There’s no sense of what this might cost to implement, but it is refreshing to see GM looking into one of the obvious downsides of a rise of touchscreens in cars — and finding innovative ways to improve them.

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