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Augmented Reality Tesla Windshield
Augmented Reality Windshield HUD
Tesla Model 3
Years ago, when the Tesla Model 3 was announced and we got a glimpse of the radical interior, I became convinced that the dashboard was cleared of all buttons and dials to make way for a projector that would sit underneath the dashboard and turn the windshield into a proper Augmented Reality (AR) HUD.

It's 2020, and the AR windshield hasn't materialised (yet), so we'll have to do it ourselves.

Note: The Augmented Reality Windshield is very different than your typical 'HUD'. Today you have some cars that display the speed so it's 'floating' in front of you and you have some products where your smartphone sits in a little enclosure where you can have your speed and some turn-by-turn directions 'project' onto a piece of glass so it's floating in front of you. These will typically be very small, around the size of your smartphone screen and they have no understanding of the road in front of you. In contrast, an AR windshield does understand and augments, or places the UI directly over those objects.

What if the Model 3 came with an 
Augmented Reality Windshield?

keep it simple ~ keep it natural

Why Tesla?
Besides being probably the most forward thinking car company today, the entire Tesla lineup is already equipped with most of the parts needed for an AR windshield.
They have the power needed to process this.
"To make sense of all of this data, a new onboard computer with over 40 times the computing power of the previous generation runs the new Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software. Together, this system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously, and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses."

So the car already comes with the required eyes and brain. If we take advantage of the large windshield we've got an incredibly powerful AR system inside the Tesla.

Okay, let's look at a couple things we can do with our newfound super powers.
Navigation 
​​​Current navigation systems in our cars have 2 big problems.

1. Eyes off road.
Whether we are using a standalone, in-car or smartphone GPS, we take our eyes off the road to see our directions. This can be fatal driving at highway speeds or cruising around the city. 

2. Added cognitive load.
We've tried simplifying direction by introducing turn-by-turn directions which help break up the trip into bite sized instructions, but we're still dealing with street names, distances and icons. Have you ever turned down the music just to find an address? That's you trying to help reduce your brains cognitive load.

Augmented Reality Navigation will make navigation as mindless as driving home.

GPSs have two main parts to their driving directions.
1. Map + Line
2. Turn-by-turn directions
You'll find this same basic setup in most navigation apps.
By augmenting that line straight onto the road in front of you, you're solving the mapping problem and you can do without the turn-by-turn.

You can read more about the mapping problem in-depth in the original 'Follow the {Yellow} Brick Road' article.
Using AR we will save lives driving.
A painted lane allows you to show exactly which lane you need to be sticking to and works very well for multiple lanes.

Imagine you're on a highway and your exit is in 10km. All four lanes on the highway are 'painted'

Your exit coming up in a kilometre? The 'paint' starts fading from the edge-most lane, slowly "nudging" you over to the correct side in a safe and timely manner for you to make your exit.

Ever had this experience?
Follow the {choose your colour} Brick Road
Although I would recommend against using colours that are already in use locally 
(i.e. Red Bus Lane, Green Bike Lane...)
Speedometer
Having your speedometer 'painted' on the road in front of you means one less reason to shift your focus away from the road in front of you while driving.
Traffic Control Visualisations
Tesla used Traffic Control Visualisations on the Centre Console screen to show you what Autopilot recognises. Augmenting that straight onto the road in front of us, helps us trust the system just a little bit more.
Augmented Reality in the car will drastically change the driving experience, and in my opinion will make it a much more enjoyable and safer ride all around. I'm excited to see what other ideas people have and what car designers end up adding to their lineup.

If you have some AR ideas for the car or concepts of your own, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
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Thanks for stopping by!

Augmented Reality Tesla Windshield
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