Coming to a Windshield Near You

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It is very apparent that the automobile is not taking a “back seat” to the home when it comes to innovation. Every year, more and more automobile manufacturers are showing up at International CES because they want to be known as advanced technology companies. The editorial coverage they get at CES is good enough to warrant the expense. This year we witnessed automobiles that can drive, fix, and talk to themselves.

Now comes a new technology that even the best science fiction writers will be shocked to see. It is called “Head-Up Display,” also known at HUD. It’s a transparent display (like a ghost) that is projected on the windshield so drivers like you stay focused on-the-road ahead. Now you will be able to read all kinds of safety and traffic information like weather warnings, clearances for lane changes, incoming phone call identifications, driving directions, traffic jams and general news. There is even talk about gesture controls in the future. At some point we will be able to swipe the windshield to find out how fast the car next to us is going. Wild isn’t it?

The technology was originally developed for military aviation but automobiles are quickly adopting it. HUD has three primary components: a projector, a combiner, and a video generator. Together, the elements generate the imagery on a windshield.
Texas Instruments showed a full color prototype display at CES that could work with a backup camera. That means that for the first time ever, your windshield will project everything that is going on behind you. Harman showed a HUD prototype at CES which claims to be brighter than anything else available today.

Both companies believe that HUD will start appearing in automobiles by 2015.