In-car navigation systems are now more affordable than ever. GPS directional systems make arriving at our destination more enjoyable, and more importantly, much easier. In the future, however, navigation systems will be even more helpful, thanks to Augmented Reality.
Augmented Reality is the process whereby virtual images are projected over a real environment. The technology creates a overlay of graphics.The technology has a variety of uses and could be incredibly useful for drivers.
Driving the Future
The European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) is an international innovation contest that awards a grand prize of 20,000 Euros ($27,000 US) for the best new application of satellite navigation technology. This year, 401 proposals from almost 50 companies were submitted and the winner was Making Virtual Solid (MVS-California), which entered its True 3D Head Up Display & Navigation System.
The system uses augmented reality to display navigational graphics on a car’s windshield. It’s designed to provide a quick and easy way to view your directions and points of interest without taking your eyes off the road.
Incredibly, the display (which is projected over the entire windshield) blends seamlessly with the real-world objects that drivers come into contact with (for example, a gas station or even a sharp turn). It’s almost like having a video game or heads-up display that creates virtual objects along your journey. Things like road signs, hazards or other warnings are also displayed. Even a hotel logo may pop up on the horizon indicating that your destination is just around the bend.
Virtual Cable Cars
In addition to the images that are displayed on the windshield, a red cable provides a guide. The cable and landmarks appear to be on the outside of the car and are refreshed in real time (60 frames a second) just like your in-dash GPS navigation. Plus, the technology works in bright sunlight, too. It’s both an impressive and inexpensive system, so don’t be surprised if you see the technology in cars in the next few years. What’s under the hood, so to speak? For an application like this programmers are most likely programming with C++ or unlocking the power of Java.
Self-driving cars? They’re actually not that far off if you consider that the True 3D Head Up Display & Navigation System could be connected to a car computer and then be set to get you to your destination…automatically.
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