There's not much that this AI-enhanced system can't do.
Head-up displays have been around for some time. Initially reserved for pricier luxury cars, even compact models like the Hyundai Kona can now be equipped with the system. By projecting key information into the driver's line of sight, it's clear what the safety benefits are by effectively negating the need to look down or to the side. But the technology is getting more and more advanced.
Prior to the launch of the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the German brand showed off its impressive augmented reality head-up display, with animated indicators helping the driver spot hazards in advance. Panasonic has just unveiled its own take on the same tech, and it appears to be even more advanced than the Mercedes system.
Revealed at CES 2021, it's called the automotive artificial intelligence-enhanced augmented reality head-up display. Quite a mouthful, isn't it? Nevertheless, the system utilizes machine learning and advanced optical technologies for a larger field of view, helping the driver to identify surroundings and potential hazards.
Some of the system's notable features include 4K resolution for the clearest imagery, eye-tracking technology that accounts for when the driver moves their head, and vibration control that compensates for a bumpy road. The system can help the driver detect pedestrians, cyclists, and moving objects, make merging on the highway easier, and identify open parking spots ahead of time.
When explaining why Panasonic's system is superior to other versions, the president of Panasonic Automotive, Scott Kirchner, said: "Traditional HUDs only cover a small section of the road. Panasonic's AR HUD solutions cover more of the roadway, with traditional cluster content like speed and fuel in the near field as well as 3D overlays in the far field." The graphics do look nicer than those in the Mercedes system, pictured below.
The system also makes use of a dual plane holographic picture generating unit, claimed to be an industry-first. Without experiencing the technology first-hand, it's difficult to say how useful it is, with some arguing that the surplus of information in the HUD could actually be even more distracting. However, the advantages of a head-up display are clear. It's possible that we could see the tech making its way into new vehicles as early as 2023.