Garmin displays iPhone app directions on the windshield

With sat navs becoming ever more sophisticated , and smartphones now incorporating them as standard, it takes some pretty innovative technology to make us sit up and take notice. Introducing the new Garmin heads up display (HUD), a portable device that displays navigation information directly onto your windscreen, from a wirelessly connected smartphone.

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This is a new handy pocket-sized, portable HUD, that receives its source information from any Bluetooth-enabled iOS, Android or Windows Phone 8 smartphone running a Navigon or Street Pilot app. Users can then look at easy to follow directions or instructions, in their line of sight, which include lane indicators, turning arrows, information about distance left to travel, and estimated times of arrival.

The HUD can also give information about how fast the vehicle is traveling, the current speed limit of the road you are traveling along, potential travel jams ahead, and whether there are speed cameras in the near vicinity.

Drivers can opt whether to display the information on the windscreen, via a transparent film that is stuck onto the inside of windscreen, or instead, onto the reflector lens that’s attached to the device itself. There is a 7,700 cd/m2 vacuum fluorescent display, complete with an automatic brightness adjustment, which gives the user a bright green or red projected image, which is ideal whether driving in bright sunlight or the dark of night.

The information is also available the standard way as spoken instructions via the smartphone speaker or through a Bluetooth car stereo. The device comes with a power adapter that includes a USB port to top up the smartphone’s battery while driving.

garmin-hud-0 - Garmin displays iPhone app directions on the windshield

The Garmin HUD will be available in the US for around $129.99, and the smartphone app will cost an additional $30 extra.

Principal engineer and industry expert in the future transport technology division at motor industry research firm Mira, Tim Edwards said that the Garmin HUD looked “interesting”.

“Car makers are starting to do this themselves but their challenge has always been development life-cycles,” he said. “Your smartphone changes almost daily but there’s a limit to how fast a car can be updated.”

Mr Edwards said that in his opinion, HUDs were beginning to be standard in mid-range vehicles and were no longer simply available in the top of the range models. He added that it was the manufacturers such as Garmin and Panasonic that were producing the better add-ons and gadgets for drivers, than those made by the actual car manufacturers themselves.

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He said that: “In a car, a HUD is usually built in and you cannot update it.”

It is an industry given, that HUDS projecting information onto windscreens can cut down on accidents as they help to prevent driver distraction, with people spending less time looking down at instruments and more time spent on the road.

Mr Edwards commented that he thought these systems would become more commonplace as vehicles get progressively more autonomous. So expect to see more sat nav devices appear on the market with these types of technology.

For more information visit Garmin.

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