Panasonic has revealed its
next-generation vehicle display system – technology that allows drivers to keep
their eyes on the road and stay informed like never before. Panasonic
Automotive’s Head Up Display (HUD) with Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the
world’s most sophisticated systems. It is capable of projecting very large
virtual images in the driver’s eye line, using AR to enhance the real world
with HUD-generated imagery. Combined, HUD with AR gives the driver more
information and can warn him or her of potential dangers. It also replaces the
traditional instrument cluster and with everything running through the HUD,
many of the car’s traditional physical controls are replaced too.
With drivers subjected to many
potential distractions on the move – from making Bluetooth phone calls to
receiving dynamic satellite navigation instructions – Panasonic’s new HUD with
AR seeks to simplify that workload by keeping the driver’s eyes where they
should be: on the road.
features a very compact HUD system, but one that it is capable of projecting
very large virtual images – up to 12-degrees to the horizontal and 5-degrees to
the vertical – into the driver’s visual path at a distance of 10m in front of
the vehicle. Teamed with multiple around-vehicle cameras, the system brings
unprecedented levels of visual information to the driver.
Augmented Reality technology
means that this HUD can then be used to make the driver aware of potential
dangers. Because the system recognizes objects in the path of the car, it can
warn the driver by displaying alerts in the HUD, distinguishing between
pedestrians, other vehicles and other objects, if they are potentially on a
The system uses a total of
eight cameras: a rear camera, front camera, night vision camera, a down side
view camera, two additional side view cameras and two cameras which track the
driver’s head and eyes.
These cameras have many uses.
The two cameras which constantly track the driver automatically adjust the HUD
in real time so that the imagery is perfectly placed in his or her eye line.
This means that movements of the driver’s head will result in updating the AR
imagery so that they match and overlay real physical objects on the road.
The cameras also detect the
side of the road and use this reference point to place the AR imagery in front
of the driver. The cameras can also be combined to produce a variety of
different views, including a bird’s eye view of the car, projected in the HUD
to give the driver an a complete 360-degree top-down image. The cameras also
negate the need for physical driving mirrors, with images projected in the HUD
The system’s capability is so
vast that it replaces not only the traditional instrument cluster but also many
of the car’s physical controls. Panasonic’s demonstration vehicle features a
modified interior that distills the HMI down to simplified steering wheel
controls – paired with an integrated capacitive touch panel – completely
replacing the car’s traditional stalks.
The system is then responsible
for switching on and off the car’s indicators and its lights, notifying the
driver via the HUD. The HUD itself is fully configurable and can show all
information that would otherwise be displayed in the instrument cluster. Using
the steering wheel controls and touch pad, the driver can change all settings
via a menu visible on the HUD.
The overriding benefit of this
system is that the HUD, making sure that the driver never has to take his or
her eyes off the road, displays everything. The driver can also change the
layout of the HUD to his or her preference – however if the system detects
imminent danger, it will automatically switch to give special focus to warning information.
Demonstrated on a specially
adapted Electric Vehicle, the technology can be applied to any new vehicle,
while the whole system – from the HUD with AR to the eight cameras – runs from
a single computer platform.