How long before hackers project memes on the road?
The automotive tech space is like fluid flowing around obstacles and finding a path until it eventually settles on an application.
The head-up display (HUD) is a prime example. Automakers have been working at it for ages, with several brands pushing the tech downstream into more accessible models. Plenty of brands offer their take on the technology, including colors and funky displays, but Ford has now taken it a step beyond.
While these displays are perfect at keeping your attention focused above the dash and on the road, they can be tough to see with sunglasses. Ford's evolution of the HUD will undoubtedly be obvious but only during nighttime driving. The brand has announced it is working on "High-Resolution Headlights."
In layman's terms, this is a display within the headlight that works like a projector. You could also think of this as a cross between a HUD and adaptive LED lights.
The above video shows that the lights could project just about anything onto the road surface in front of the car. Of course, the most prominent and beneficial use case would be for navigation. Not only would your turn signal alert other drivers of where you're headed, but so would your lights.
There are other applications as well. The image above shows a snowflake being projected onto the ground. Presumably, this is to indicate that the temperature has hit a certain threshold and that icy conditions may be present. While these all sound like great solutions, there are some obvious drawbacks to using your headlights to showcase what's going on with your vehicle.
First and foremost is privacy. It might be nice to tell other motorists where you're headed, so they don't run into you, but constantly broadcasting your direction of travel also tells a would-be stalker where you're heading.
Of course, we give it about 20 minutes after this is introduced before a hacker makes the system project a rude message to other motorists on the ground.
This appears to be more a concept than anything. Ford has not made any announcement to indicate that these will or will not be coming to its models. Still, we could see these on your garden variety Mach-E before long.