Antenna systems for vehicles were first developed in the 1970s. Pilkington Automotive had a major part in this development, with Japan and Germany driving the demand for integrating antennas into glazings, to combat vandalism and to improve aesthetics. Since 1996, Pilkington Automotive has used its own anechoic chambers, in which antennas can be tested in order to achieve optimal performance.
Growth in the following areas of communication is stimulating the need for increased sophistication in antenna systems: AM/FM and digital audio broadcast (DAB) radio, television, digital video broadcast (DVB-t), telephone (GSM), navigation (GPS), WLAN, remote keyless entry (RKE) and paging systems.
The development of new designs and the evaluation of prototypes are all part of Pilkington Automotive's full service to its customers.
Recent developments include amplifiers and electronics on the glass. These are able to boost the radio signals and remove requirements for off-glass electronic housings. They are used to interface with digital and optical communication links in the vehicle, at low cost.