Whatever happened to heads up displays?
Whatever happened to heads up displays? I had a 1993 Pontiac Grand Prix with a heads up display. It was terrific at displaying the speedometer and other essential indications. When I sold the car, I could not find a manufacturer that provided them standard, much less as an option. What happened?
Answer from GM
“GM Makes Your Entire Windshield a Head-Up Display
By Tony Borroz
March 17, 2010 |
Rather than project info onto a portion of the windshield, GM’s latest experiment uses the entire windshield as a display. Small ultraviolet lasers project data gleaned from sensors and cameras onto the glass. General Motors geeks are working alongside researchers from several universities to develop a system that integrates night vision, navigation and on-board cameras to improve our ability to see — and avoid — problems, particularly in adverse conditions like fog.
“We’re looking to create enhanced vision systems,” says Thomas Seder, a lab manager at GM’s big R&D center in Warren, Michigan.
Trying to make a workable head-up display is a laudable goal. Drivers are inundated by ever-more information from navigation systems and the like, and they need to be able to see and process it easily while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. A practical head-up display allows that.
GM’s experimental system goes beyond the night-vision system found in cars like the BMW 7-Series and the HUDs you find in, say, the Chevrolet Corvette or Buick LaCrosse. While those systems will tell you how fast you’re going or whether you’ve left the turn signal on again, Version 2.0 could make you a safer driver.
“Let’s say you’re driving in fog, we could use the vehicle’s infrared cameras to identify where the edge of the road is and the lasers could ‘paint’ the edge of the road onto the windshield so the driver knows where the edge of the road is,” Seder says. Take a look at the pic below to see what he means.
The windshield is coated with transparent phosphors that emit light when excited by a compact laser, turning the entire windshield into a monitor of sorts. GM says that approach allows the system to alert drivers to things that might be outside their immediate field of vision.
“This design is superior to traditional head-down display-based night vision systems, which require a user to read information from a traditional display, create a mental model and imagine the threat’s precise location in space,” Seder says.
GM has no immediate plans to offer the technology in production models, but Seder says some of features could appear in vehicles at some point.”
Hey, GM, how about just sticking with the basics. I am not flying to the moon.