Head Up Displays or HUDs were developed by military organizations to transmit information on to pilots without requiring them to remove their eyes from the flight path. Recently, this technology has been further developed for automobile manufacturers. HUDs provide drivers with access to information such as directions and speed without removing their eyes from the road. According to reports, around 3154 people were killed in accidents caused due to distracted driving while 424,000 were injured in 2013.
A Head-Up Display projects a digitally transparent image onto your windshield. It contains information that you would obtain from your dashboard. It may include things like temperature gauges, engine revs, warning signals, navigation alerts and current speed. By displaying this vital information in the same field of vision as the driver’s eyes, the HUD will reduce the time that it requires a person to gaze around the car, to look at their cell phone or check the radio. More time spent looking on the road means fewer accidents and safer journeys.
A head-up display (HUD) improves the situation, as it projects a virtual image of the instruments alongside a direction that is closer to the driver’s gaze when you look ahead and at a focal point that is far away from the driver.
As concerns with distracted driving keep mounting, more and more drivers are becoming interested in HUD-enabled vehicles. This technology is sometimes referred to as “augmented reality”. It just means that the world surrounding the driver is augmented with additional information that appears across the windshield. A HUD can display information such as infrared cameras, GPS information, and mobile apps.
A Head Up Display is useful in reducing car accidents. Here’s how:
HUDs, when paired with an infrared cameras provide drivers with critical information in low visibility situations such as hail, heavy rain, and fog. Using infrared cameras, HUD systems can detect road lines and then project them onto your windshield, showing you their exact location. In other words, HUDs can project objects that are there, but you are unable to see. It even includes cars that are ahead of you which you cannot view. Your HUD system will use GPS and cameras to spot the car ahead of yours and then proceed to display an image on your windshield. The distance of this vehicle ahead will also be projected.
Apart from telling you that there is a vehicle oncoming, HUDs will also guide you in maneuvering your vehicle around the oncoming car. It will help you avoid accidents and other road hazards. The device pulls the data from everything that is actually happening inside the engine in real time without the need of a GPS system.
You can pair a Head-Up Display with your Bluetooth or cell phone device. It will enable hands-free texting as well as dialling. Future functions that are expected to be added on include displaying information from various apps such as restaurant listings, music selections etc. right in the driver’s field of view.
Head Up Displays display all kinds of information together that normally requires you to look at different dials. For example, you can access GPS and Bluetooth on your HUD while driving. It will keep your focus on the road and help you reach your destination safely and on time. Some advanced HUDs come with the option of setting preferences by the driver.
Does not distract the driver
The data that is projected does not distract the driver’s attention the way dashboard controls or cellphones do. So the driver feels not only more comfortable but protected too.
Eyes can refocus
When your eyes switch back and forth between the road and HUD, they are able to refocus + much faster than if they were looking at a mounted cell phone or any other device. It is because the projected flash is just 15 feet ahead of you. Your head and eyes remain focused on the windshield and don’t have to look downwards. According to research, if a driver changes hiseye gaze at the speed of 120kmh, he will be blinded for at least 33 meters, before his eyes will get their focus back on the road. This time means a lot when you are driving and pose serious risk of accidents.
Cost versus Safety
Many people shy away from purchasing a HUD because of the cost. Like most products on the market, HUD prices vary greatly. The starting price is a few hundred dollars. However, as technology continues to progress and improve, the cost continues to plummet. Installing a head-up display can make the driving experience for you and your passengers much safer, making the cost a small factor.
Size of the HUD is not distracting
The size of a HUD is not very big and can be installed on all makes and models of vehicles. All the controls and functions will be right in front of you so that you do not have to remove your gaze from the windshield. The size is similar to a cell phone mounting device, if not smaller. This ensures safety and well-being of the driver as there is minimum disturbance.
Improves your vehicle’s safety system
Drivers can pair their HUD system with adaptive cruise control or on-board cameras. It leads to a better safety system. Apart from the ABS, airbags, brakes and seat belts, your HUD system can improve your vehicle’s safety.
HUDs have been around since the 1990s but have gained popularity again in recent years. While there are people who are for and against these devices, their role in maintaining the driver’s safety cannot be underscored. As more research is being conducted on a Head Up Displays, the evidence supporting the need for these devices continues to mount. Till now, these have been an interal feature of only luxury car brands like Audi and BMW, but have been generating interest from speed enthusiasts all over the world quite lately.