Autonomous driving might be the future of cars, but until then, it’s still us fleshy mortals piloting these moving death traps – and if we’re completely honest, humans are not very good drivers. So instead of showing off autonomous driving tech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, Panasonic instead worked on a new augment reality (AR) head-up display (HUD) system that could very well affect the way we drive cars, today.

AR HUD is not exactly a new technology – the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class‘s HUD does already come with AR functionalities that displays navigational information, such as arrows at a junction, as if it’s floating in mid-air.

However, Panasonic’s new concept takes the HUD to another level by using cameras and sensors to detect everything in front of you – a full 180-degree forward vision up to 90 metres across three traffic lanes. It then uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse what’s most important, and highlights them as a 3D image right on your windscreen.

For instance, the system will be able to detect a cyclist or a merging vehicle in real time, and project a graphic onto the danger itself to bring it to the driver’s attention. Panasonic’s AR HUD system can even project a highlighted empty parking space onto the windscreen – something us Malaysian drivers would seriously appreciate!

Aside from the AI technology, Panasonic also made the actual display a lot better for drivers to see clearly. Advanced optics in the projection system provides an expanded field of view beyond the “usual” 10 x 4 degrees for a virtual image that looks bigger and further away, while a camera system constantly monitors the driver’s eye position to adjust the display accurately to where the driver is looking at.

Panasonic’s new AR HUD also comes with a vibration control system to stabilise the display, no matter how bumpy the road is. It is also supposedly compact in its packaging, meaning it can pretty much be adopted in “any vehicle configuration.”

The new Panasonic AR HUD system sounds like a seriously cool idea, and could possibly help transition us into the autonomous future, by getting us to first trust what the car is seeing, before letting the cars make the judgement calls in the future.

But of course, it’s still CES, so concepts like these might never actually make it to production. Would you want a system like this in your next car? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!


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Woon
Believes that a car is more than just numbers and facts, it's about the emotions they convey. Any car can be the right car for someone, but he'll probably pick a hot hatch over anything else.