Mercedes-Benz is collaborating with an Israeli startup called Gauzy to develop smart glass technology that turns vehicle windows into mobile displays for location-based information.

Gauzy displayed its new product, Dark RetroFit liquid crystal display (LCD) film, earlier this year at a tech expo called Startup Autobahn, organized by Mercedes in conjunction with the University of Stuttgart and others. Benz is now working with Gauzy to develop its smart glass technology, which has been demonstrated on – wait for it – a smart fortwo.

It works like this: Gauzy bonds very thin LCDs to car safety glass that’s powered by the vehicle’s electrical system. When the car is running, a current runs through the glass to keep it transparent. When the car is parked, however, the glass, to be installed only in rear and side windows, turns opaque so that images can be projected onto it via a controller installed in the vehicle.

Gauzy was one of 13 startups chosen from 300, and six from Israel. The company also had a foot in the door with Benz, with which the startup had been working for the previous three years. Apparently, Daimler plans to send “a few hundred” smart glass-equipped cars around the world to put Gauzy’s technology into action.

According to Reuters, Gauzy’s idea could turn car windows into the next outlet for advertising and information on public streets.

“This is the first time that a car window is no longer just a car window,” said Gauzy CEO Eyal Peso. “It’s also a full-blown display that can be used for smart messaging.”

The idea is the windows could display information relevant to where it’s parked, like directions to nearby attractions, and other “information relevant to the location.”

(via Reuters)