The next step in heads-up safety for drivers, or just to make it easier for them to handle certain tasks, may be an augmented reality projection right on the windshield of the car — the entire windshield, not just a small screen in front of the steering wheel.
Jaguar Land Rover is currently testing its “360-degree Virtual Urban Windscreen,” which uses projections from cameras on the exterior of the vehicle to display potential hazards that may not be readily apparent to drivers, or hidden to them.
For example, the technology would highlight certain cautions such as pedestrians moving out from behind parked vehicles, cyclists approaching from a different direction at an intersection, or an unsafe gap to the vehicle ahead. And not only would it highlight these items on the windshield, it would also project them on the roof pillars, rendering them virtually invisible.
The system operates in a similar fashion to the virtual bonnet introduced in April 2014 on the Discovery Vision concept, where off-roaders are able to virtually render the hood of the utility vehicle invisible in order to see obstacles in the trail ahead.
The other neat feature of the technology is the ability to project a ghost car ahead of the vehicle, which would instruct the driver to “follow,” in conjunction with the use of the onboard navigation system.
Future consideration would also be given to downloading gas-prices, traffic problems, local business information and even weather conditions in real time, presenting them to the driver as the vehicle travels along.
“Our ultimate aim is to reduce the potential for accidents and enhance the urban driving experience,” said Wolfgang Epple, Jaguar Land Rover’s director of research and technology. “If we can keep the driver’s eyes on the road ahead and present information in a non-distracting way, we can help drivers make better decisions in the most demanding and congested driving environments.”
JLR says the technology is not as far away as it may seem, with system in place to already apply it to current vehicles. The problem is the technology’s cost to make it a cost-effective purchase consideration for new vehicle buyers.