The Future of Augmented Reality in Cars

Published on 26 February 2020

Augmented Reality (AR) has been around for many years, most notably in the gaming and entertainment industries, but as it develops more sectors are realising its potential to enhance the user’s experience of a service or a product. The user’s actual ‘real-world’ experience is augmented through the use of graphics or data, which is projected onto the user’s actual environment. One area in particular that is keen to adopt AR is the automotive industry, with many cars already offering this new technology.

can alert the driver to hazards on the road

AR can be used for a variety of applications in vehicles, including infotainment, sales, safety or convenience features. Relevant information such as the track/radio station currently playing, speed or directions will all be displayed in the driver’s line of sight.
By overlaying important information onto windshields or dashboard-mounted displays, AR can improve safety. Instead of a driver needing to look down at the dash or to their phone to get driving data or information, AR can overlay the information onto a heads-up display, the windshield or project it onto the road ahead in the driver’s line of sight. In addition to helping with navigation and data from system gauges, augmented reality can also alert the driver to hazards on the road or other emergency notifications. 

In the area of sales and marketing AR technology offers greater customer engagement and a ‘try-it-before-you buy-it’ opportunity. AR product visualisation and placement can project a life-size 3D image of the car in the prospective buyer’s driveway and allow them to look at the interior. This means that the process of selling can begin before the customer steps foot into the showroom.

AR technology can also make the technical more accessible to new customers, by offering them the opportunity to see 3D simulations of how their car operates via their mobile device. Companies including BMW and Hyundai's Genesis Imprint have developed AR owner's manuals, which can use computer graphics to identify components of the car interior or engine and overlaying relevant information over the car's features to demystify the technical mechanisms of the car. It also offers instructive animations on how to maintain and service your car when minor issues arise, such as changing a tyre.

show the driver what’s happening in all the blind spots

Other advances by Landrover and General Motors, promise improved visibility for those towing a trailer. By superimposing a view from the trailer’s back camera to show the driver what’s happening in all the blind spots, they are in effect making the trailer ‘invisible’ to the driver. It offers a greater field of vision than that available from just using rear-view mirrors. 

There are several cars on the road today manufactured by BMW, Chevrolet, Jaguar, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Bez, MINI, Toyota and Volvo that boast AR features. Using heads up displays (HUD), these vehicles can project data such as fluid levels, speed, smartphone integration, directions, traffic information and more. Drivers can download apps to their mobile device that can overlay digital information over the cabin of the car to help identify it’s features and provide the relevant information. Currently, there is also a lot of aftermarket HUDs available for drivers to install in their cars, so it’s not necessary to purchase a new model to avail of AR technology.

While autonomous vehicles will not be a reality on our roads for many years, AR technology promise to offer improved safety, navigation and convenience that we can enjoy now.Innovation that offers guidance such as intelligent parking, potential hazards, or locating the nearest petrol station will soon be mainstream and we won’t know how we managed without it. Another thing you shouldn’t go without, is reliable affordable car insurance that offers many additional benefits. Call us now on 1890 944 412. Subject to terms and conditions.