Garmin HUD Prototype

Hands-on with Garmin’s windshield HUD prototype Source: Engadget

A few years ago (Edit: Apparently 6 years ago; thanks Google!)  I had an opportunity to leverage a small mini-projector from Mitsubishi that was about 5″ x 3″ x 2″ H, throwing an 4:3 image from as little as 14″ away from the surface.  In requesting solutions and info from my vendor, I was told that the tech had first been pioneered for use in autos, as a HUD or Heads Up Display.  I was also told that while the tech was engineered to make drivers safer while driving, instead the display ended up causing more distraction than intended.

The accompanying video here shows that Garmin believes the problem all along has been UI, but I think really they just need some way to make info presented a bit more innocuous.  I’ll dig up a link eventually, but I feel like some car manufacturers are using HUD’s to display infrared camera input at night, so you don’t hit that deer for 50 points.

Back to the interaction bit: I don’t want these devices to have me force some input to them. I want them to intelligently interpret what I might need to know around me.  I find this is an incredibly simple concept, but hard to do the right way.

CES 2014: GM, Audi, Hyundai, Honda, nVidia officially join Google’s Android automotive push

CES 2014: GM, Audi, Hyundai, Honda, nVidia officially join Google’s Android automotive push (Source: AppleInsider).

And so, the Open Automotive Alliance was born.  I can’t help but feel bummed that Apple isn’t the one leading the pack.  While there have been some nifty integrations over the years (BMW’s iDrive comes to mind), there’s been this strange lag between this consumer hardware being used by everyone, and being utilized properly in the automobile.  As anyone who’s ever purchased or installed an “after market” deck will probably agree, this tech (and it’s lower price point) can’t gain popularity soon enough.

Incidentally, the deck was $900 USD Pioneer model, and never came with a single firmware update ever again.  Somewhere along the way Apple changed their spec for pushing out album art, and I’ve been staring at a silly color-filled screen, with no art ever since.  🙁