New GPS Navigation Displays in Front of Windshield
A screenshot from a demonstration video, showing what it would look like to drive with a new augmented reality car navigation system by Pioneer in Japan. Pioneer plans to start selling the technology in July 2012.
Augmented reality is bringing GPS systems right in front of drivers' eyes. Besides looking cool, these navigation systems will eliminate the need to keep glancing back and forth between a GPS screen and the road.
Several companies are working on bringing this technology to market, and now one is announcing it's ready to start selling in late July. According to industry magazine Tech-On, the new system will cost about $4,000 – plus, for those not living in Japan, a round-trip ticket to the island nation.
The Japanese company Pioneer announced May 8 it will release two versions of its Cyber Navi system, the world's first augmented-reality "head-up" display for car navigation.
Cyber Navi works a little like Google glasses for drivers: A clear plastic screen comes down in front of the driver, in the same place the sun visor usually goes. When drivers look through the screen, they see a full-color, 35-inch by 12-inch image (90 by 30 centimeters) projected about 10 feet (three meters) in front of them.
When the vehicle is being driven on city streets, a bar across the top of the display shows the distance to the next turn, with numerals and a small arrow. The bottom left corner shows the estimated time of arrival, while a snowflake-like icon at the bottom right indicates how far ahead the next car is. A long, green line floats above the road for drivers to follow.
Turn onto a highway and the system automatically switches to highway mode, with information about when the driver needs to exit, the congestion ahead and the locations of the nearest service areas and parking lots.
Cyber Navi can also detect traffic signs and road markings. A video from Pioneer shows the system detecting red lights and displaying a red "S." The system also enlarges speed-limit signs and highlights lane markings. When drivers drift over the line for too long, the lane-marker highlight turns magenta and sounds a warning.
Cyber Navi will work in about 70 percent of existing cars, Pioneer told Tech-On. Late this month the company will post online a list of the cars that support Cyber Navi, according to Tech-On.