On the lookout for a driver’s change of view

Automatic lane assistance. Backup camera displays. Push-button power lift gates. Traction control. The list of cool automotive features goes on and on these days.

Clearly, consumers don’t need to peek under the hood to know that the current generation of vehicles are bristling with more high technology capabilities than ever before.

These advances go well beyond creature comforts like wireless smartphone connectivity or individual climate controls. Much of the technology in the latest autos is designed around data sensing and processing – so-called Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) – to give drivers a more complete view of the road and their immediate surroundings. 


Making sense of driving data

Amid growth in ADAS, perhaps the biggest demand coming from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is figuring out a compelling way to help drivers see all of this data clearly and safely.

With the addition of head-up display (HUD) starting to ramp up in vehicles, drivers are getting just that: a new perspective on the world around them. It’s a view that could fundamentally change how we interface with our cars and our surroundings while we drive.

Instead of a traditional dashboard and instrument cluster, HUD enables more intelligent displays by featuring the information a driver needs at just the right time and in just the right place. This could be straightforward information such as speed, navigation, warnings and backup camera displays, or things like collision warnings and lane detection.

With HUD, this all happens without requiring the driver to take their eyes off the road. Instead, everything appears to float at just the right distance on the windshield.


What’s new in HUD?

Many OEMs currently offer some form of HUD in their automobiles. Some key advances in HUD, however, are driving greater demand from auto makers who understand the potential it can unleash.

These factors include a wider field of view (FOV), augmented reality, higher contrast ratios, and higher resolution. In particular, a wider FOV in combination with augmented reality capability has the potential to be THE game-changer for this technology. New display solutions, like our DLP® technology, allow OEMs to project more content, such as navigational indicators and real-time landmark indicators, with a FOV of up to 12 degrees – double what was previously possible – overlayed on top of the real world scene.


The future of HUD

It’s clear that autos infused with ADAS need a better way to display all of this data. And HUD projection technology is certainly a powerful way to do just that.

Advances in HUD capabilities, particularly a wider FOV, means it could someday soon supplant the traditional instrument cluster as the primary way drivers understand their vehicle and its surroundings. According to research firm IHS Automotive, worldwide sales of vehicles with HUD are expected to grow from 1.2 million in 2012 to 9.1 million by 2020.

Our EvoCar demo, for example, is a wonderful test bed of various TI technologies designed to empower drivers.

Anecdotally speaking, the inclusion of HUD is proving to be extremely popular with consumers. It’s one of those things, like cruise control or back up cameras, that doesn’t seem essential until consumers experience it. We’ve seen that once consumers have tried HUD, it quickly goes from a nice to have to a must have.

We are continually collaborating with some of the world’s leading OEMs to provide DLP technology that enables new kinds of HUD capabilities for autos. But really, it’s up to automakers and consumer demand to decide how HUD ultimately plays out in the market.

It is certainly exciting to think about the creative and innovative ways OEMs will incorporate HUD in the coming years.