On the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, passengers enjoy dimmable windows. It was the first plane to offer this technology, which allows passengers to have their window shade open without being blinded. Airbus is looking at introducing the technology soon, though details are sparse.
While details are limited at this time, the airplane manufacturer is working with Gentex Corporation to test out and eventually debut electrochromic windows. Gentex is the same supplier that Boeing uses for its dimmable aircraft windows.
The electronically dimmable windows will let flyers selectivity darken the windows according to their preference, while still being able to enjoy the view outside. This eliminates the need for traditional shades. The new window shades will also help airlines save energy and money. The electronically dimmable windows help block infra-red energy from entering the plane, which means airlines do not have to rely so much on the air-conditioning systems to keep the aircraft cabins at a comfortable temperature.
Compared to earlier systems, the newest windows will darken twice as fast and will eliminate 99.999% of visible light. As they will be mechanically simpler than typical window shades, the new windows will require less maintenance. Boasting a scratch-resistant dust cover, they should be more durable, too.
While there is no timeline as to when the new window shades will debut, more details of the roll-out should be announced this spring. Gentex has worked closely with Airbus to deliver exactly what Airbus was looking for, and it should be an improvement when compared with the already popular dimmable windows on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.