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Garmin HUD displays driving directions on your car’s windshield

Announced on Garmin’s site recently, the Garmin HUD (Heads-up Display) is a navigation gadget that projects driving directions onto a transparent film that’s applied to the interior of your vehicle’s windshield. Requiring an Android, iOS or Windows Phone 8 smartphone to provide the driving directions, the display allows a driver to keep their eyes safely on the road and surrounding cars while staying on track with the directions. Ideally, this keeps a smartphone out of the driver’s hands in order to avoid distractions and potential accidents.

Regarding time of day, the Garmin HUD will alter the brightness level of the display automatically depending on the level of natural light on the car. On the HUD’s interface, the user will find the distance to the next turn, the direction of the turn, the car’s current speed, the legal speed limit on the road and the estimated time of arrival for the trip. In addition, the Garmin HUD will let the user know about upcoming safety cameras and traffic delays due to an accident or road work. 

Similar to standalone GPS units, the Garmin HUD will inform the user what lane to be in for the upcoming turn. If the user is a leadfoot, the navigation gadget can set off an alarm to make sure the user slows down a bit. This could be particularly helpful for inexperienced drivers like teenagers, assuming it can’t be easily turned off. Also similar to a standard GPS device, the Garmin HUD is powered with the supplied vehicle power/adapter cable. However, the cable also offers a 5V/2.1A USB port for keeping your smartphone all charged up during the trip. 

Unfortunately, the custom navigation interface and features come at an additional cost compared to other mapping alternatives. While the Garmin HUD is priced around $130, the user also has to purchase Garmin’s Navigon or StreetPilot app in order to supply the driving directions. It’s not compatible with free mapping programs like Google or Apple Maps.

For the iPhone, Garmin’s Navigon application costs $30 and requires additional investment when traveling in other areas of the country. When the Garmin application is active, the software uses Bluetooth connectivity to send the directions from the smartphone to the Garmin HUD. Even with with added cost of the app, it’s important to note that the Garmin HUD is significantly cheaper than purchasing the HUD feature in new cars like the BMW M6, Audi S6 or Lexus HS. Basically, the HUD concept is available to all cars now, regardless of price range or available features.

Noted by Time, another issue with the Garmin mobile application is the lack of interactivity with Android and iOS voice software. The user isn’t able to talk to Siri or Google Voice in order to map out directions to a specific location. Instead, the user has to type out the directions within the mobile interface, hopefully prior to getting on the road for the sake of safety. At the moment, the Garmin HUD hasn’t been authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Assuming the FCC puts a stamp of approval on the product, Garmin will start selling the device.