Augmented Reality has now become Augmented Vision — both derivatives of the hot VR technology that is sweeping certain corners of the venture-capital-backed startup industry. AR takes real-world visuals and is able to annotate, animate or ‘bring to life’ static displays.
The easiest way to understand it is: see a shark billboard, view billboard through AR apps or glasses, and shark starts snapping and moving in 3D. Normal world in background, just added excitement via AR.
Firms like Facebook, Google and Microsoft have put huge investments in place under the belief that AR and VR will become primary user interfaces and entertainment portals of tomorrow.
Will this come to pass?
You’d be wrong to be against those tech giants, and replacing the computer mouse and TV with one goggle setup is certainly a promising and enticing prospect.
But how will this extend into the automobiles of perhaps 2020?
MINI Designworks has a prototype for goggles to enhance the fun, safety and usability of its cars. The primary use case scenario would be a for navigation systems — able to use your entire field of vision to project directions across the entire windshield, for example.
There are a variety of other uses possible with this technology in cars, like transparency for the A-pillars, parking assistance via 360-degree views right in your peripheral vision, or displaying messaging like texts in unique ways.
This all seems well and good. But the most promising might be simply seeing the world pass by in a vastly more detailed way. Imagine driving down a busy city street. You read and your brain processes perhaps 10-percent of the business signs visible, tossing out any info you do not need.
Let’s say you need to find a dog groomer or dry cleaner in the next week or so. Your MINI goggles could flag and note these types of businesses as you pass them.
Overall, seems promising. But it would be nicer to not have to wear the silly glasses to see that type of info. Even so, putting a small projection system into glasses does seem cheaper than the next phase — full-windshield heads-up display systems, delivering all these benefits to anyone in the car — glasses or not.
MINI AUGMENTED VISION: A REVOLUTIONARY DISPLAY CONCEPT OFFERING ENHANCED COMFORT AND SAFETY
MINI Augmented Vision: A revolutionary display concept offering enhanced comfort and safety. Exclusive prototype of augmented reality eyewear underlines the innovative flair and creativity of the MINI brand.
Munich. MINI is revealing the shape of things to come at the Auto Shanghai show with a pioneering innovation. “MINI Augmented Vision gives an insight into how intelligent connectivity between a MINI car and eyewear into which relevant content is projected might work in the future,” explains Dr. Jörg Preißinger, project-manager MINI Augmented Vision, BMW Group research and technology. “Working with several Qualcomm companies, we have created an interlinked system and augmented reality eyewear with a characteristic MINI design that revolutionise the experience both in and outside the vehicle. This prototype with its customised, interactive functions succeeds in fusing augmented reality with the brand’s trademark sense of lifestyle.”
Using see-through technology, the AR eyewear shows relevant information in the driver’s direct field of vision but without concealing other road users, thereby serving to increase safety and comfort while driving.
The following functions will be projected into the field of view with MINI Augmented Vision:
- Destination entry for navigation and transfer to vehicle: Selecting destination points when outside the vehicle, then transferring them to the vehicle.
- First Mile / Last Mile: Navigation display from the current location to the vehicle or from the vehicle to the final destination.
- Head-up display functions: Display of speed, speed limits etc. in the eyewear so the information is in the driver’s primary field of view, with data always shown in same place above steering wheel to make sure that no road users are concealed from sight.
- Contact-analogue navigation and points of interest: Reality is enhanced by contact-analogue navigation arrows “on” the road, as well as display of points of interest along the route, such as open parking spaces. The driver´s attention can always stay focused on the traffic.
- Messaging: A small icon is shown in the eyewear when a message is received. The SMS/message can then be read out by the car while driving for safety.
- X-Ray View / transparent vehicle parts: A virtual view through parts of the vehicle (such as A-pillars and doors) serves to render external areas or objects concealed by the car visible.
- Augmented Parking: This facilitates parking by projecting the images from a camera housed in the (farside) mirror into the eyewear. In this way, the distance from the curb can be clearly and easily ascertained.
Design and colour-concept of the eyewear were created by Designworks for MINI.
MINI Augmented Vision has been developed in collaboration with several Qualcomm companies.
“We are proud to have helped develop a breakthrough augmented reality interface between eyewear and the automobile,” says Jay Wright, Vice President, Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc. “MINI Augmented Vision offers a compelling example of what’s possible today, and what we can expect in the future.”
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.