Augmented Reality and the Future of Cars


Every time there is a talk about the future of automobiles, the first thing comes to the mind is autonomous vehicles. However, we all know that it will take a decent amount of time before autonomous vehicles take over the world. Until then, the current car scene is going to keep getting better with the addition of the latest technologies in the current systems. Augmented Reality is one such technology that is going to make a big mark in the auto industry before the autonomous storm hits.

Augmented Reality (AR) wasn’t much popular or talked about a few years ago, but thanks to platforms like Snapchat and Pokemon Go, today most people not only know about this technology but also have hands-on experience of it. And now this technology is making its big impact on the automobile industry.

The most basic AR feature in a car is the Heads-up-display (HUD). HUD consists of a small projector that throws display on the windscreen with useful information like speed, gear, RPM, and GPS navigation right in front of driver’s eyes. Though the HUDs have been part of luxury cars for a long time, now with the rapidly growing technology, these HUDs have become much more informative, interactive, and attractive than before.

Taking advantage of the opportunity, tech manufacturers are coming up with different HUDs with more and more new technologies built into them. Let’s take a look at one such product, Navdy. As shown in the video below, Navdy shows useful information like maps, calls, messages, notifications, music, and car information projected directly in front of the driver, and so, you’ll never have to look away from the road. It also has a voice command feature so the driver can even interact with the AI voice and give commands without touching anything.

Source: Navdy

AR can also be used to integrate your phone with the car technology for more convenient and hands-on controls. For eg., Mercedes-Benz has recently launched an AR mobile app called AskMercedes that helps you understand everything about the car on your phone screen. You just have to hover your phone on the interior and the app will show you live information on your screen. Watch the video below to see how effortlessly it works.

Source: Product Concierge Mercedes-Benz of Naples

The potential of using AR in cars is endless. Its live interactive nature can be used to make people see and experience things that practically would cost so much to demonstrate.

AR can also be used in car showrooms to preview different options available in the car without actually having all types of cars physically there. This would be a huge plus point for manufacturers like Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini, etc., who offer unlimited numbers of customization in their cars. Using AR, the owners can now see how exactly the custom options they are choosing would look on the car, which was not possible before.

As this technology grows, it will also help to make driving cars safer with its interactive nature. It can be made possible that the Heads up display can identify other cars and objects, and warn the driver if it comes too close and if there is a chance of collision. The warning could help to bring the driver’s attention to the potential risk and help him/her react to it before the collision occurs.

We know that autonomous cars are the future, but that does not mean that AR would go away. Augmented Reality can go hand in hand with autonomous technology to make the human experience even better. For example, AR can be used to display all the required information on the screen and also use the same screen to show entertainment content to the rider while the car drives itself!

Imagine riding in a car that is driving itself and as you pass by any food place, the display shows you their menu and a list of their best dishes on your screen! The list of such possibilities is endless.

On the manufacturers’ side, AR is like a blessing, especially departments like R & D and Design will be able to save so much time that they would have been spending on trial and error methods otherwise. The design team can now see how their new concept would look without any hassle of making clay models or prototypes. It will save a lot of money and precious human hours.

With the kind of pace technologies that have been growing in recent times, there are no two opinions that the AR is only going to get better from here, and with that, human experience in cars will also get much more convenient and frictionless.