With the introduction of the augmented reality head-up display, automakers have transformed the way drivers navigate and stay informed, bringing this video game-like feature to the real world.
Up until now, it was only available in higher-end, premium vehicles, drastically limiting the number of people that could benefit from it. Volkswagen aims to change that, bringing this revolutionary feature to volume models like the new ID.3 and ID.4 and making it available to a wider range of customers.
This is made possible by an advanced picture generation unit located inside the dashboard. The suite of beams is generated by an exceptionally bright LCD and then spread onto a couple of flat mirrors and special lenses that create the divided virtual windows.
The first is the far range window, which projects information from the assistance and navigation systems in the driver’s field of view, at a virtual distance of around 10 m (33 ft). That includes turn arrows, starting points, and destinations or various traffic alerts that are dynamically displayed on the road surface.
At the bottom of the windshield is the close-range window; it statically displays speed, road signs, assists, and navigation symbols, which appear to float in front of the driver at a distance of about 3 m (10 ft).
The first is an advanced notification on the static display, and the second will project three arrows in the middle of the junction pointing left using the far-range window.
The closer the vehicle gets to the junction, the larger the arrows become, directing the driver towards the planned route. Their texture also fades to guarantee a clear view of the road ahead.
Safety features such as the lane assist function also make use of the far-range window, projecting a boundary line at the edge of the road which turns orange when the vehicle moves closer to it.
The augmented head-up display also marks the vehicle in front with a colored stripe as soon as adaptive cruise control (ACC) or travel assist is enabled. If these systems are turned off, and the car gets too close to the vehicle in front, a red signal will be projected underneath it to warn the driver.
All the virtual information is generated by an AR creator located in one of the two central computers in the ID. models. It assesses the positioning of the symbols corresponding to the surroundings using raw data from the front camera, radar sensor, and navigation map.
The augmented reality head-up display comes on all ID.3 and ID.4 models equipped with the Infotainment Package Plus, which also includes the Discover Pro navigation system.
Both electric models are part of Volkswagen’s Transform 2025+ strategy, which aims to reshape the manufacturer’s product line and bring zero-emission mobility to a wide range of customers.