You might think windshield technology isn't a hotbed for research, butjust released a new type of windshield that addresses some very common issues.
Volkswagen's "climate windscreen" does away with visible heating elements laid into a heated windshield. Instead there's a thin layer of electrically conductive silver inside the laminated glass. A maximum of 400-500 watts runs through the layer, helping melt ice. There are also additional filaments under the windshield wipers to stop them from freezing to the glass.
The benefits extend beyond winter. That thin layer of silver, while invisible to occupants, acts as a passive heat shield, reducing the amount of heat that enters the cabin when the sun is shining. Volkswagen believes it can reduce the interior temperature by 15 degrees more than traditional glass.
This system is a bit more elegant than the usual heated windshields you'll encounter, which feature thin filament wires. Those wires are largely invisible, but under certain conditions, they become quite apparent and somewhat annoying. Most Jaguar Land Rover vehicles have this type of windscreen.
It doesn't appear that this technology is coming to the US quite yet. It will start out as an option for a number of Volkswagen's Euro-market vehicles, including, Golf Sportsvan, , Sharan, Passat and Passat Variant. Prices start at 340 euros, which converts to about $365 at the time of writing.