Augmented Reality-based Head-Up Display For Cars

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Augmented reality (AR) tends to be limited to gaming or home furniture shopping. But the technology has also come to your car head-up displays (HUDs). Here is a reference design to enable an AR-based HUD.

Head-up displays (HUDs) are the latest innovation in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and have become a vital component of the automobile arena. An HUD is a multimedia system projecting real-time data to keep drivers focused on the road and offer safety and convenience. This information includes speed, warning signals and navigation that is displayed on the windshield directly in the driver’s line of sight.

The HUD concept first appeared in military aircraft, where it was increasingly necessary for the pilot to be able to monitor critical flight data without looking away from outside the aircraft to an instrument panel within the aircraft. As the capabilities of HUDs improved and dropped in price, HUDs found widespread application in commercial and even private aviation. In recent years, HUDs began appearing as a factory installed option in many high-end automobiles. Recent advances in consumer display technology present the opportunity to equip any automobile with an aftermarket head-up display (AM-HUD) solution.

Augmented Reality Head-up Display (AR HUD)

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Augmented Reality based HUDs are the most talked about innovation by today’s car and aftermarket manufacturers. These displays add noticeable features to make driving even more comfortable and safe.

The idea behind augmented reality is to overlay digital information on top of the real world, by displaying road signs, real-time route navigation, and warnings using information from sensors, cameras, maps, WiFi and GPS. Some examples include lane departure detection, vehicle proximity detection, blind spot detection, route navigation alerts, pedestrian detection and more.

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True AR HUD systems require a very large field of view and virtual images created over the road that are bright with saturated colors. They require a wide field of view of at least 10° coupled with a long virtual image of at least 7.5m.

Texas Instruments (TI) has developed a reference design ideal for the next generation augmented reality HUDs for automobiles.  The design features TI’s DLP2010 digital micromirror device (DMD), which delivers high brightness and low power consumption.

The design provides a brief overview of a reference optical engine design for the DLP2010 DMD. It summarizes specifications and key design parameters of the optical engine. Optical engines using DLP Pico technology with DLP2010 are well suited for integrating high-quality display capability into ultracompact products, such as smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, mobile accessories, interactive surface computing, digital signage, aftermarket head-up displays, and near-eye displays.

Click here for the reference design.

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