Continental and DigiLens Create First Augmented Reality Head-up Display
The companies showed us a full-color demonstrator.
The leading German tire and technology company, Continental has joined hands with DigiLens to create the industry-first automotive-related Augmented Reality Head-up Display (AR-HUD). Continental used the experience of DigiLens in projection technology and showed us a full-color demonstrator, which provides drivers with spontaneous support to get a better focus on the road. This technology would be very helpful in self-driving cars.
“Head-up Displays, particularly those with large-area augmentation, provide optimum driver support. Thanks to our early investment into waveguide technology, we are now taking a big step forward towards ultra-compact AR-HUDs. We have successfully overcome the most challenging obstacle which is the instrument size. As a result, industrializing this technology in the vehicle is now within reach,” stated Dr. Frank Rabe, Head of the Continental business unit Instrumentation & Driver HMI.
This Augmented Reality Head-up Display is different from others in the market that employ mirror technology. However, this tech has its limitations in terms of the display area.
“Most vehicles simply do not offer a large amount of space. That was clear from day one, and that is why we wanted a different solution in order to be able to offer the AR-HUD benefits to as many drivers as possible,” said Dr. Pablo Richter, Principal Expert Optical Technologies at Continental.
The solution wasn’t possible without the help of waveguide HUD expert DigiLens who employed three flat waveguides stacked over one another to develop the RGB color area.
“The light rays from the projector enter the multi-layer waveguide from underneath. They get folded inside the waveguide and are finally projected upwards to create the virtual image through reflection on the windscreen,” Richter explained. “One of the many challenges was that while our development partner had produced solutions for the helmet visors of pilots or motorcycle drivers, the large-area application to a windscreen takes the technology to a whole different dimension.”
The demonstrator offers augmentation in an area of 2.60 meters x 0.87 meters over a projection length of 10 meters. Once fully developed, the AR-HUD can be customized for different vehicles.