Augmented reality head-up displays provide futuristic driver guidance

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Pioneer is taking steps to provide a high quality HUD navigation experience for motorists.

Until now, a high quality head-up display experience has been more of a concept, than what is actually provided, but Pioneer is seeking to combine new technologies, such as augmented reality, to bring this experience to life.

The company is using its NavGate HUD to provide drivers with real time, helpful guidance.

The Pioneer NavGate HUD brings together the connectivity of a smartphone with augmented reality in order to provide a driver with a virtual 30 inch display of helpful data that appears to be floating just a few feet in front of the hood of the vehicle.

The use of augmented reality helps to overcome the need to display the data on the windshield.


Previous head-up display experiences have failed to achieve their full potential because they use graphics that appear to be from three decades ago, and are displayed on a transparent sticker or onto the windshield itself. The surface – whether it be the windshield or a sticker – needs to be specially treated in order to reflect the blocky pixels for the display. However In this case, Pioneer has dumped that concept altogether in favor of a Digital Light Processing system that is mounted on the visor. It then projects data, through augmented reality, onto a clear plastic sheet within the field of view of the driver.

This use of augmented reality has been compared to the type of display that a fighter jet pilot would see, only this is usable to the driver of a regular family sized vehicle. The display can provide the driver with a number of different information options, such as turn-by-turn navigation, which incorporates data from lane placement to the vehicle’s current speed, the actual speed limit of the road, the current time, speed and red light cameras along the way, and an estimated time of arrival (and estimated distance) for reaching the intended destination.

Sensors in the device are able to detect the ambient light so that the augmented reality display brightness will be appropriate regardless of whether it is daytime or nighttime. A dedicated app is responsible for controlling these types of features.

As of yet, Pioneer has not named the specific smartphones that are supported by NavGate to provide the augmented reality display experience. However, what is known is that it is connected to the device through a very long USB cable. The device will launch next month with iGo Primo and CoPilot navigation support.

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