Pioneer unveils heads-up, augmented reality display for use in vehicles

PioneerAugmentedRealityCar

Augmented reality is a rapidly growing trend in the worlds of entertainment and gaming, but is it something you would want in your car?

Developers at Pioneer aim to answer that question and, according to PC World, have unveiled an augmented reality, heads-up display for use in automobiles. The technology makes use of an LCD screen mounted into the dash (where a CD-player or navigation system would usually be), working in conjunction with a small camera mounted near the rear-view mirror. You’ll have to sacrifice your sun-visors, which are replaced by small screens that create the augmented reality effect.

Lasers display across these screens, causing images to appear as if they are “floating” a few meters in front of the vehicle. This effect gives you the feeling that you are seeing graphics outside of your vehicle, even though they are actually being displayed through the screens above. It’s a neat trick, and one that may actually aid in your driving experience.

According to the Youtube video below, you’ll see a wealth of information, all moving and interacting with the road. Augmented reality arrows will help guide you to a destination via GPS, and small “cartoon balloons” will mark important areas in the distance like gas stations, restaurants, and a variety of other locales. The camera will even feed you information regarding stop signs, yield signs, traffic lights, and a number of other important signage.

Although, if you’re not into the “virtual reality” aspect of the system, you can still turn your gaze down to the included LCD-screen, where you’ll see the same information. Although, from a design stand point, it’s probably a lot safer to see objects ahead of you, in real time, rather than having to avert your gaze from the roadway. There is a small amount of “camera delay” on the Youtube video, but the company promises that the real thing is instantaneous.

This system doesn’t come cheap, running at around $3,400 per unit. We are assuming that is just for the equipment and does not include instillation fees. We are also unsure if this setup is applicable on all vehicle types. Although, judging by the fact that it is simply a camera and screens, it is a safe bet that you could mount this on virtually any vehicle. It will be interesting to see how well this unit sells in the near future, and if Pioneer continues to develop augmented reality software for cars.

What do you think? Is this a smart development, or is it something you could – or should – do without?

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