Ford Has a Genius Way of Using Augmented Reality (AR) in Cars

Ford doesn’t plan on stopping bringing more useful tech to the table. Now they thought of a better way to use augmented reality (AR) in cars. It might sound like a gimmick for now, but here’s why it’s really cool and useful.
Ford Head-Up Display (HUD) 6 photos
Photo: Ford Motor Company on YouTube
Ford's New HUD With AR PatentFord's New HUD With AR PatentSun GlareFord HUDSun Glare and Cyclist on the Road
If you drive a lot, then you surely had days when the road was just not a safe place to be because the solar glare was very strong at sunrise or sunset. Add a wet road to this equation, and you’ll get a recipe for the perfect disaster.

You can try and use glasses, sun visors, or just squint your eyes, but there are moments when it is genuinely hard to properly see the road. Ford wants to help you with this by giving you improved augmented reality in a future car of the Michigan-based manufacturer.

While Mercedes-Benz made all the headlines with its AR navigation that now is slowly making its way onto more luxury or premium cars, the technology is widely known since it was used in mobile games. Remember Pokemon Go?

According to a recently disclosed United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) filing, Ford has another use for AR. The automaker plans on installing this system in a car equipped with a head-up display (HUD). The company calls it “User-centric Enhanced Pathway,” or UEP for short.

This invention “may provide vehicle pathway guidance (…) in the event of a sun glare.” Read the wording carefully, and you’ll see Ford is not yet ready to assume responsibility for this tech working as envisioned on every occasion. Don't get your hopes up just yet.

Ford’s new patented AR system will make use of the HUD, cameras, GPS, and radars to project on the windscreen the path that must be followed by the driver. It’s essentially giving you another set of eyes. Furthermore, it will be able to adjust settings like brightness, contrast, and color on its own to make sure the person behind the wheel sees what information is being shown to them.

The AR system will also know when it must activate on its own based on data like the driver’s eye squint status, the speed, the location, or what the weather is like at a certain moment within the day.

This technology is not limited to cars or trucks, as Ford is looking to install it even in vans or buses. You can find a lot more specific details about this new AR system in the USPTO filing attached down below.

You ought to keep in mind that patents aren’t necessarily a guarantee of production. The American carmaker just wants to make sure its invention is protected by the law. Given the current climate of things and what the future prognosis says about getting back to normal, it’s hard to imagine Ford going all-in with this anytime soon. For now, it’s good that they at least have it.
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 Download: Ford AR Patent Filing (PDF)

About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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