Augmented Reality Head-Up Display Concepts
A host of new technologies are entering the automotive industry, driven largely by the rapid development of smart tech and connectivity. One concept which has really caught our eye this month is the use of augmented reality in head-up displays, taking advantage of the entire windscreen. Both Continental and Jaguar Land Rover have released details about new concepts over the last few weeks, and in this month’s column we’re taking a look at the new AR-HUD’s which could feature in our cars in the near future.
Continental’s AR-HUD offers improved driver information
Earlier this month automotive supplier Continental announced the latest version of its AR-HUD, which supports the driver with situational information that appears in the exterior view. When using the navigation system, a virtual symbol is inserted into the driver’s field of vision which shows the way directly ‘in front’ of the vehicle. When distance controls, such as adaptive cruise control are enabled, a marking in the AR-HUD shows a visualisation of which vehicle in front is detected by the system.
Continental is planning for the AR-HUD to be production ready by 2017, and already have the technology at an advanced stage of development in a demo vehicle. Helmut Matschi, a member of the Executive Board at Continental and head of the Interior division said of the technology:
"The AR-HUD is an important step in the direction of holistic human machine interfaces in cars for a more comfortable, more economic, and safer driving experience. Drivers receive all important information before their eyes in an easily comprehensible way. This is a major step against driver distraction and sensory overload, both now and in the future."
The AR-HUD moves virtual information directly into the driver’s line of sight; it inserts full-colour graphics into the real road view in an approximately 130 cm-wide by 60 cm-high section of the driver’s field of vision, to a distance of 7.5 metres. This is achieved with the use of Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) technology. The system uses camera and radar data from the vehicle’s sensors, and takes into account the vehicle dynamics data, digital map data, and GPS positioning. This enables the control unit to calculate a model of the real exterior view from the driver’s perspective and position the augmentations at the correct visual point. In the demo vehicle Continental has realised three applications in connection with the car’s driver assistance systems:
The AR-HUD supports the driver if the vehicle is in danger of unintentionally drifting out of lane.
It supports the use of adaptive cruise control with a crescent-shaped marking presented in the driver’s field of vision which highlights the vehicle in front being detected by the ACC system.
It also provides navigation information in the exterior view so that the driver can follow the path designated by the system, rather than looking back and forth between an internal navigation screen and the road to judge directions.
Jaguar Land Rover virtual windscreen for performance driving
Jaguar Land Rover has also been in the news this month with the release of the ‘Jaguar Virtual Windscreen’ to assist road and track driving. The concept effectively uses the entire windscreen as a display so that the driver’s eyes never need to leave the road. Information which could be displayed on the windscreen includes high quality hazard, speed and navigation icons; and for performance driving, the racing line, braking guidance, and even virtual cars and virtual cones.
The technology is part of a wider HMI concept which Jaguar Land Rover is developing to enhance the driving experience and reduce distraction. Director of Research and Technology for Jaguar Land Rover, Dr. Wolfgang Epple, said:
"We are working on research projects that will give the driver better information to enhance the driving experience. By presenting the highest quality imagery possible, a driver need only look at a display once. Showing virtual images that allow the driver to accurately judge speed and distance will enable better decision-making and offer real benefits for every-day driving on the road, or the track."
For track driving, the Jaguar AR-HUD offers three very interesting possibilities as part of the concept:
Racing line and braking guidance offers a virtual racing line which appears on the windscreen but looks to be laid out on the track in front of the vehicle. It provides the optimum racing line to follow and changes colour to indicate when, and how much to brake.
Ghost car racing provides a feature that many will recognise from video games, by offering a visualisation of your car from a previous lap, or from a lap uploaded by a different driver, and allowing you to race against the ghost car to help improve lap times.
Virtual cones can be presented on the windscreen, which will appear to be laid out on the track for the purpose of driver training and improvement. The cones can be ‘moved’ as the driver improves.
In addition to the AR-HUD, Jaguar Land Rover’s HMI concepts include a gesture-control system using E-Field Sensing, which is based on capacitive discharge touch screens; and cameras and virtual displays which could replace rear-view and external mirrors with a 3D visualisation that makes it easier for a driver to judge speed and distance.