Volkswagen has become the first volume carmaker to offer an augmented reality head-up display system for the compact segment, through its ID.3 and ID.4 fully-electric models.
The system is able to superimpose certain symbols onto the outside world and display them on the windshield in a dynamic fashion. Usually, this type of system would first end up on high-end models exclusively – just ask Mercedes.
“We have introduced a genuine innovation in series production,” says Frank Welsch, VW development board member. “And we have done this not in a premium vehicle, but in the compact models of the all-electric ID family. Making pioneering technologies available to a large number of customers is a core competency of Volkswagen.”
Here’s how it works: the information being projected onto the windshield is separated into two fields and levels. There’s a large window for the dynamic displays in the driver’s field of view at a virtual distance of around 10 meters (32.8 feet), with a diagonal measuring roughly 1.8 meters (5.9 feet). This far-range window holds information from the assist and navigation systems.
The close-range window on the other hand is located as a flat band under the large far-range window, showing the driving speed, road signs and assist plus navigation symbols as static images. These appear to “float” roughly 3 meters (9.84 feet) in front of the driver.
“All displays are positioned perfectly in line with the real world outside the vehicle and are shown dynamically. When the vehicle approaches a junction where it should turn off according to the navigation route, the driver sees two indications: in the first step, an advance notification on the road level, and then three arrows located at the junction. The closer the driver gets to the junction, the larger the arrows become. At the same time, their textures fade in order to ensure a clear view of the road.”
Also, don’t worry about the system projecting all types of symbols and warnings onto other cars or infrastructure while you’re doing all the driving (that would have been distracting). The symbols appear as an aid only when the Adaptive Cruise Control or Travel Assist is activated.
VW ID buyers can specify the augmented reality head-up display as part of the Infotainment Package Plus, which also includes the Discover Pro navigation system with touch display.