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Augmented Reality Technology Trend Could Take Over Auto Industry

Augmented reality superimposes a computer-generated image on a driver's view of the real world, thereby providing a composite view.

As trends go, it is likely that we will soon see augmented reality (AR) technology as a standard feature in most cars. Augmented reality (AR), a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a driver's view of the real world, thereby providing a composite view, is already used by car companies in order to overlay critical information within the driver’s line of sight.

AR greatly enhances safety for drivers by projecting vital information on the windshield or road ahead, which prevents them from looking down at the dashboard or at their phone to get driving data or information. Aside from aiding navigation, AR also makes drivers aware of dangers on the road and provides other emergency notifications.

Nissan’s Invisible-to-Visible technology, for example, will allow drivers to have an AR passenger in the car who can provide feedback, perform co-pilot duties, and much more. Currently, there are several BMW, Chevrolet, Jaguar, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Bez, MINI, Toyota and Volvo models with AR features. These cars use heads up displays (HUD) to project data such as speed, gas levels, lane guidance, directions, and much more.

Some companies are also using augmented reality on mobile apps to produce AR owner's manuals. Drivers can download the apps to their mobile device and use computer vision to identify precise cabin features. Subsequently, the pertinent information about the cabin's features is displayed for the driver.

Mercedes has been leading the way in AR navigation with the latest A Class and GLE, which display navigation instructions over objects in a live camera view. The 2020 Mercedes GLE, which is considered the first car to provide an augmented-reality navigation screen, will display street names, turn instructions and building addresses on the dashboard screen as the next turn is approaching. In the future, this technology will move to the windshield as Mercedes has shown with its DICE concept of full-screen head-up augmented reality on the road.

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Automakers are also previewing AR as a way to engage drivers. The Mission E AR app from Porsche and Audi's Quattro Coaster AR app offer ingenious, game-style technology to allow drivers to interact with the brands before setting foot in a showroom or auto show booth.

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