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A good bullet-resistant ride can do the trick for most VIPs, leaving aside physics-defying assassins and impossible curving bullets. But the U.S. Department of Defense also wants controllable protection against the sun’s vicious ultraviolet rays, not to mention prying eyes and sniper scopes.

The DOD has awarded a $425,000 contract to GKN Aerospace for a product that embeds electronically dimming films within armored glass. Such a “SmartShade” would help hide VIPs riding inside armored vehicles.

SmartShade would take a cue from a SPD-SmartGlass technology licensed from Research Frontiers, Inc. A dimmer button would provide on-demand light control, privacy, and protection from the outside world.

“This new development will have its initial application in the global counter-terrorism market for government VIP Armored Personnel Vehicles but also has real value in the civilian VIP market,” said William Fischer, vice-president of technology at UK-based GKN Aerospace.

The main challenge here lies in embedding the SmartGlass technology in armored windows, and then ensuring that the windows hold up to “extreme environmental conditions” as well as “stringent ballistic testing.”

GKN previously designed the windows for Boeing’s Dreamliner passenger jet.

[via CNET]

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