Image: Hyundai

As cars become rolling computers with ghastly repair bills, automakers aren’t stopping the tech at safety sensors and complicated infotainment screens. The windshield is up for grabs, too, and Hyundai has ideas for it—ideas that include augmented reality and telling a driver about nearby activities in real time.

Hyundai and its new partner WayRay AG are working on a new type of heads-up display, which takes the modern idea of projecting bits of information like speed and speed limit in front of the driver on the windshield to a much more involved level. The companies showed some of what the in-development display can do in a Genesis G80 at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, with what they call a holographic augmented-reality navigation system.

Image: Hyundai

Other than saying it’ll be for the “next generation of displays and connected vehicles” at Hyundai and Kia, Hyundai didn’t mention when the display as a whole, or just the navigation system, may be ready for production. At any rate, it looks like one of those things that’s always 10 years out—until it gets here and reminds you how old you truly are.

Like Iron Man’s helmet but way less cool, a YouTube video from WayRay AG demonstrates a display as being able to show a driver all sorts of stuff in real time, from information about the car, road and navigation to nearby activities, admission prices, and even how many hikers are at a campsite. There’s a lot going on in the video, and, with its focus on nearby activities, it seems like the display could easily morph into an advertising platform for venues.

Then again, even the spots on those big, blue highway-exit signs are paid for by businesses, so that last bit wouldn’t be too out of the ordinary.

Advertisement

Hyundai mainly talked about the augmented-reality navigation system in its announcement about the display, which will apparently be able to adjust based on the viewing angle of the driver without a headset It’ll also monitor what’s going on around the car by showing things like “people, objects, buses, bicycle lanes, and crosswalks,” in case you didn’t see them with your own eyes.

Here’s more on all of it, via Hyundai:

Additionally, while conventional head-up display (HUD) units project a reflected image indirectly through an LCD screen mounted on the dashboard, the holographic AR display projects an image through the windshield.

WayRay’s display shows not only navigational features — such as lane guidance, destination points, and current speed — in augmented reality, but also incorporates ADAS features like lane departure warnings and forward collision warnings. [...]

In addition, they expect the incorporation of V2X (Vehicle to Everything) technology and connectivity features will allow data such as traffic signals, surrounding vehicle information, as well as road or weather conditions, to be provided in real time.

Advertisement

So, yeah, the future of car windshields is augmented—as is, probably, the future of reality itself. See you in 2045, when we’re all wearing heads-up displays as a single eyeglass on our face, for no real reason other than that we think it looks cool and no one actually holds their cellphone in their hand anymore.