The head up displays have now made the transition from fighter jets into mass-market cars – you can even find them in a Mini, for example – and as they catch on more and more could deliver another leap forward towards driverless cars.
Vehicles are increasingly bumped in terms of driver assists and safety systems, which is another small step towards the introduction of the autonomous vehicles that are said to be able to save countless lives in the future as they take over from the flawed human interface. Drivers meanwhile are constantly assaulted by more visual information than ever and the HUDs could be a good way to assist them, especially if we think about the world of possibilities brought by 3D augmented reality technology. Automotive supplier Continental is already working to develop an augmented reality system, designed to complement the existing hardware that usually can display info such as speed, media selection or navigation instructions. The idea is to add even more information, but in a dynamic form – for example using graphics projected onto the road itself to better guide the driver through certain maneuvers.
It could also be paired to the adaptive cruise control (ACC) and lane departure warning systems for more helpful visual assistance. And Continental this year has already moved towards mass-marketing such systems, purchasing automotive software supplier Elektrobit, and recently announcing the new subsidiary would develop a software suite called AR Creator designed to “foster the creation of augmented reality solutions” and deliver another feature that prepares both drivers and cars for the disruptive shift to full autonomous driving.