Panasonic’s Augmented Reality HUD Gears for the Future at CES 2021

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During the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Panasonic’s unveiled one of its latest inventions — an augmented reality head-up display (HUD) that’s enhanced by artificial intelligence. 

Head-up displays are a type of technology that projects relevant data on the windshield of various transportation modes, including cars and aircraft. So far, the information HUDs display on windshields has been relatively simple. 

One of the most common types of information is a vehicle’s current speed. However, Panasonic’s new project aims to do more than just that. The augmented reality, AI-powered HUD by the electronics corporation allows drivers to navigate the roads without glancing at their phones. But this is only one layer to what Panasonic’s new HUD can do.

Panasonic’s demonstration video at the CES 2021 showcasing its augmented reality HUD

Navigation Accuracy and Advanced Optics: Important Components that Drive Panasonic’s HUD

In 2017, Panasonic featured a similar augmented reality HUD system during the CES in Las Vegas. It has a similar concept to the HUD system Panasonic presented this year, except the latter presumably has a more sophisticated and artificially intelligent algorithm. 

According to a press release in the PR Newswire, the top features of Panasonic’s new augmented reality HUD are as follows:

  • Eye-tracking technology
  • Advanced optics
  • AI navigation accuracy
  • Vibration control
  • Real-time situation awareness
  • 3D imaging radar

The HUD also includes high-resolution augmented reality graphics and has a size fitting for almost any vehicle, the press release says.

Among these features are key components that separate Panasonic’s HUD from the common types of HUD available in the market. These are its advanced optics and AI navigation accuracy.

With its advanced optics, Panasonic’s new HUD ensures that every obstruction along the driver’s path is immediately recognized and escalated to the driver’s attention. An example of this appears in Panasonic’s demonstration video. 

The HUD displays graphics that instantly alert the driver about a galvanized trash can suddenly rolling into view. The detection was quick enough to prompt the driver to stop. The alert was also subtle but recognizable, which helps prevent the person driving from getting startled. This feature applies to other moving vehicles, pedestrians, and the like. 

Panasonic’s augmented reality HUD’s advanced optics work in conjunction with its AI navigation accuracy. Going back to the video, you can see data pertinent to navigating the road overlayed on the correct surfaces. Panasonic’s AI-powered navigation tool is very similar to the GPS navigation application Waze — except the instructions, distance, and street information are all on your windshield.

Other Features in Panasonic’s Augmented Reality HUD

The other key features in Panasonic’s augmented reality HUD are its eye-tracking technology and high-resolution augmented reality art.

It’s easy to see why the augmented reality graphics are important to the HUD — it’s what gives the driver a smooth driving experience. This particular feature directly communicates with the driver. The clearer the graphics, the better. 

The AR graphics in Panasonic’s HUD boasts a resolution of 4,000 pixels and tells the driver everything they need to know about the road in real-time. This includes blue lines and arrows for the streets leading to the destination, red warning symbols for oncoming vehicles or nearby bicyclists, and even symbols for available parking spaces.

To make sure the augmented reality is in line with the driver’s viewpoint, the HUD also has eye-tracking technology that automatically aligns the floating graphics to the driver’s eyes. Panasonic presumably used remote eye-tracking technology where the alignment process does not necessitate any contact with the person. 

Remote eye-tracking technology uses certain features of the eyes, such as the pupil and cornea, to determine the orientation of a person’s gaze. In the case of Panasonic’s augmented reality HUD, there is no need for any form of contact to orient the graphics correctly. It will automatically know where to place the graphics, even with some head movement by the driver.

Image credits to Pixabay

A Brief History of HUDs in Automobiles

Before HUDs became a part of the automotive industry, aircraft during World War II used them first. Years later, around the 1980s, the first corporation to include an HUD in one of its car brands was reportedly General Motors. The HUD in the 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible “projected a digital speedometer and turn-signal indicators onto the windshield,” a report in the New York Magazine says.

Today, most HUDs follow in the footsteps of General Motors, with minimal variation. The same report also notes how some drivers find HUDs to be a nuisance and would rather do away with it. It says most luxury cars with HUDs usually display data often seen in a car’s instrument panel. 

Given the history of head-up displays, you can say Panasonic’s augmented reality HUD is game-changing technology. And because it’s currently a wild and novel idea, people have been both skeptical and thrilled to see it in action.

General Reception of Panasonic’s Augmented Reality HUD So Far

As expected, people have mixed opinions about Panasonic’s new HUD. After all, it hasn’t been commercially manufactured and installed in cars yet. Forming a solid opinion at this time is a shot in the dark. Nevertheless, we gathered two comments on separate platforms showing the general outlook of potential users. 

One comment in an article on the website Car and Driver says:

Actually HUDs are pretty good if you get used to it […] Have found this incredibly useful without having to see anywhere else and keep the focus on the road. […]

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The same article says Panasonic anticipates its new HUD to be in use by 2024.

Another notable comment, which can be found on Panasonic’s YouTube video, says:

This will only add to distracted driving as people will focus more on what’s displayed and not what’s actually happening around them.

Route Omega — 

What about you? Are you excited to try Panasonic’s artificially intelligent augmented reality HUD?

In Summary

Panasonic showcased one of its latest inventions at the CES 2021. It’s an augmented reality head-up display powered by AI. It projects data relevant to the person driving the car and can display useful information, such as oncoming vehicles, lane markers, and even street names.

Some of its key features include:

  • Advanced optics
  • AI navigation accuracy
  • Eye-tracking technology
  • Hi-res augmented reality graphics

If your company is looking for high quality augmented reality art, then you’re on the right page. NarraSoft offers augmented reality art services to companies across industries. 

Want to partner with us? Send us a message at sales@narrasoft.com, or leave a message on our chat box or contact form. We’re excited to work with you!

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan is a content and copy writer. She has written for a popular business daily in the Philippines and for various startups across the globe before transitioning to work for NarraSoft. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a bachelor's degree in journalism.