The newest concept cars from BMW and Audi envision how in-car displays will function. For many years, concept cars have served as a platform for automakers to showcase their most cutting-edge innovations and speculate on the future of driving.To improve the driving experience, automakers have probed using augmented reality (AR), for instance, by superimposing additional images and information on the windscreens.
The concept car BMW displayed at CES 2023 illustrates how drivers can use augmented reality (AR) to elevate the driving experience. The BMW iVision DEE unfolds through five different degrees of mixed reality, the last of which the company describes as a fully immersive virtual reality (VR) driving experience, starting with displaying basic information required to drive like in existing head-up displays.
Audi, a different German automaker, has adopted a different strategy for in-car augmented reality, which is made possible by a headset worn while driving.
The Audi Activesphere concept car uses augmented reality to replace the physical dashboard entirely. Headset users can view control panels and other virtual displays concealed to unaided observers.
While BMW’s and Audi’s concept cars envision an all-electric future where driving automatically is as simple as pushing a button, incremental advancements in AR technology offer a more practical vision of augmented driving right now.
For instance, Mercedes has incorporated augmented reality into the Ask Mercedes mobile application, which identifies dashboard features and their functions when users view them on their smartphones.
Companies like the Swiss startup WayRay and the UK holographic startup Envisics are developing the next generation of holographic head-up displays. It will significantly increase the size and quality of what can be safely projected on a car’s windscreen.
Use cases have only begun to scratch the surface of the potential for augmented reality to improve how people drive. Due to the ability of over-the-air software updates to now upgrade millions of vehicles automatically, augmented reality offers one more chance for auto brands to innovate consistently and advance technology.
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