More head-up displays going into cars, with improved information, graphics

David Sedgwick
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: July 21, 2014 10:48 am ET
Updated: July 21, 2014 10:59 am ET

Image By: Continental AG A "combiner" head-up display uses a clear plastic panel mounted behind the instrument panel to display information to drivers.

Related to this story

Topics Automotive

BABENHAUSEN, Germany — Head-up displays with "augmented reality," the technology that employs much of the windshield as a display area for data and images, is poised to significantly change how drivers see the road.

Auto supplier Continental AG says it has lined up a production contract to supply its new HUD technology for an unnamed customer in 2017.

The German supplier will market its technology as a safety device, said Eelco Spoelder, chief of Continental's instrumentation and driver HMI division. HMI stands for human machine interface.

"It allows you to have your eyes constantly on the road," Spoelder said. "If you have to look up from the instrument panel to the road, you need a second to change eye focus. You can travel blindly for quite a few meters."

Suppliers use the phrase "augmented reality" to describe large, multicolor head-up displays that superimpose data or images across much of the driver's field of vision through the windshield.

Companies such as Nippon Seiki, Harman, Visteon, Bosch, Panasonic, Delphi and others are developing head-up displays, and Denso has said it will market its own version of augmented reality.

Continental displayed its technology this month to reporters in a modified Kia K900 on public roads near Babenhausen, a town near Frankfurt where Continental designs and produces head-up displays.

For the motorist, the transition from a conventional HUD to augmented reality is like switching from a small, portable black-and-white TV to a big-screen TV.

There's a big difference in image size, color and definition, and that allows engineers considerably more freedom to display useful data for the motorist.

Continental's new unit is actually two HUDs packaged together. The first is a conventional unit that displays the vehicle's speed, directions for the motorist's next turn and a lane-departure warning.

The basic unit's display floats about 8 feet in front of the motorist through the bottom of the windshield, a typical HUD position.

The second unit produces a virtual display about 25 feet in front of the motorist. When the navigation system indicates an upcoming exit, a series of virtual blue arrows floats along the route to be taken.

In addition to turn-by-turn information, the second unit displays a more elaborate lane-departure warning, collision alerts and highlights of cars on the road ahead that have been detected by the vehicle's intelligent cruise control.

During an afternoon test drive on local roads and highways, Continental's prototype HUD produced a clear, intuitive display of turn-by-turn route guidance.

Reporters did not have an opportunity to test the prototype in bright sunlight, which can wash out conventional HUDs.

A major issue for market acceptance is the bulk of the optics box inside the instrument panel. The prototype optics fit inside a 13-liter container; Continental engineers say they will shrink the production version to 11 liters.

"We will drive down the cost and make it a potential mass-market product," Spoel-der said. "The question is how much space carmakers will allow [for the optics box]. That will be the decisive factor."

A smaller, less expensive "combiner" HUD -- which doesn't require an expensive, custom-designed windshield -- could prove to be the technology of choice for small vehicles.

Combiner HUD images appear on a small, clear plastic panel mounted behind the instrument panel. These units can display basic information, but not the big, colorful images of the more expensive unit.

The Mazda3 and BMW's Mini, for example, come equipped with combiner HUDs. Spoelder, who has a combiner HUD in his product portfolio, is happy to pitch it as a low-cost alternative.

But it's the augmented reality HUD that has the potential to change the auto industry's approach to instrumentation.

So, which automaker will introduce Continental's new augmented reality HUD in 2017? Spoelder isn't talking, and each of the German luxury brands has used Continental HUDs.


Comments

More head-up displays going into cars, with improved information, graphics

David Sedgwick
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: July 21, 2014 10:48 am ET
Updated: July 21, 2014 10:59 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Auto supplier receiving grant to help expansion

October 30, 2014 3:35 pm ET

Summit Polymers is receiving an $800,000 performance based grant to help with a $7.3 million expansion of three of its Michigan facilities.    More

Image

Magna opens new exterior facility, plans for lighting investment

October 30, 2014 1:36 pm ET

Canadian automotive supplier Magna International Inc. on Oct. 28 opened a new injection molding and robotic paint line facility in Delta Township,...    More

Image

Finalists named for 2014 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards

October 30, 2014 11:00 am ET

The Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division has selected finalists for its 2014 Automotive Innovation Awards competition. Category winners...    More

Image

Detroit Manufacturing Systems to hire 200 for F-150 production

October 29, 2014 10:40 am ET

Interior trim supplier Detroit Manufacturing Systems LLC plans to hire 200 assembly workers by January to support production growth of Ford Motor Co....    More

Image

Automakers globally using 3-D printing to speed production, prototyping

October 27, 2014 11:41 am ET

As the cost declines and capabilities improve, automakers and suppliers increasingly are relying on 3-D printing to shorten product development cycles...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events