Right now, there are three automotive equipment makers that have presented augmented reality (AR) concepts for the modern automobile. These AR concepts have the potential to greatly increase safety by placing warnings and environmental information on the car windshield. This information will not be distracting because it will highlight objects around the car.
Windshield displays that show vehicle information at the bottom of the windshield that is within the driver’s view has gained a lot of interest in recent year. It has already started appearing in various car models and makes. The windshield displays usually show the vehicle speed, GPS directions, allowing the driver to keep their attention on the road without the need to look away. AR is more than just a display technology because it can also utilize gps and sensors to pick out objects in the vehicles environment. It can also call out those objects for the driver. AR can be especially useful in urban environments where there is a lot of traffic, pedestrians and signage that can become overwhelming.
A company that is actively working on making the projection technology is called Continental. This company has partnered up with DigiLens. DigiLens makes compact projectors that feature high-resolution that are typically used for augmented reality glasses. Together with DigiLens technology, Continental can create a windshield display that can cover a larger area of the windshield than current projectors. Thus this new windshield technology can show a variety of sensor-derived information about the vehicles environment. The Continental system is current technology that can now be implemented by an automaker for current models.
Visteon, which is a company that makes cluster displays and infotainment systems for the automotive industry, showed an example of a sensor-driven windshield display that painted simple graphics on the windshield. In the demo the display simulated driving examples of the road. It showed imagery of other cars on the road, and highlighted potential dangers for the driver. The images were color coded, for example, a red graphic around a vehicle ahead meant that it was braking. It could also highlight people walking on the side of the road.
It is clear that from these AR demonstrations, that the projection technology is now production-ready. The new ideas brought forth by AR windshield technology is exciting, we’re already looking forward to how effective AR will be as a new safety feature.