As all Top Gun fans will already know, head-up displays or HUD were originally developed for aviation. Well that was then, now they are appearing with greater than ever frequency on our cars. Perhaps confined to prestige models or as costly options for now, motorists can be confident that this technology will gradually – and quite quickly – filter down to mainstream motors. Some used cars may well already have them. In the not too distant future all vehicles will have this technology alongside other AI innovations.
HUD For The Road
Head-up displays are seen as a great way to view navigation or safety alerts on the road. They work by projecting images onto the windscreen in the field of view of the driver. They can show speed limits, vehicle speed, fuel consumption, phone connections and in some cases the navigation route set. Soon they may start augmenting reality. The thinking behind the HUD is to improve off-road glance time. It is straightforward and it makes absolute sense. When the driver doesn’t have to redirect his or her gaze off the view ahead there is less distraction and thus less chance of an accident.
Even by today’s standards the images are very well illuminated and can even be seen in bright light or through polarised sunglasses. They can also be adjusted to the correct eyeline as preferred by the driver. Research has already clearly shown that drivers like seeing navigation and speed limits in this way helping drivers to stay within the law. Most HUDs in current vehicles use mirrors to reflect images onto the screen from within the dashboard.
Coming To A Car Near You Soon
The next phase of head-up displays will be when there are lines on the lane of the road to show lane departures or to alert that cruise control is operating. If nothing else this will hopefully rid motorists of all the irritating bleeps from this sort of safety technology. The future indicates that HUD could show connected car data such as traffic or road hazards. Although right now motorists are rather reserved about autonomous cars, HUDs will form part of the ‘driverless’ arsenal in a manner that users can easily understand, thus reassuring the driver that everything is working as it should and taking care of business.
Developers have been working on HUDs for the last decade and research has shown volumetric displays with a true 3D effect are better for the brain to handle. When the brain has depth perception it can recognize images faster. For example, if a person is walking across the street with a dog, the driver may not notice the person and the dog in the landscape. However, a symbol appears to accurately to alert the driver.
We all value road safety initiatives and it is much more acceptable when we, as motorists, can perceive that value easily. It is exciting to see images in the eyeline that display without vibration and that the object can be seen in real time, such as in navigation. Of course though there’s a limit. Too much information and the HUD will become cluttered, lessening the value and usability. Nevertheless anything that stops driver distraction has to be welcomed. Look how well Tom Cruise did with it! In addition to HUD, cars today have a plethora of safety technology and they can be seen on our vehicles
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