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Augmented Reality Applications will Transform Vehicles

Car manufacturers are both excited and cautious about how new technology is reshaping their industry. As an example, innovative automotive applications for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will redefine the vehicle driving and ownership experience, according to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research.

AR Heads-Up Displays (HUDs) will enable advanced autonomous vehicle operation by painting 3D navigation instructions onto road geometry, highlighting moving obstacles like crossing pedestrians, and enhancing driver awareness of autonomous operation.

By 2025, ABI Research analysts predict that more than 15 million AR HUDs will ship -- with more than 11 million to be embedded solutions. However, there are numerous issues that must be resolved, in order for mainstream market development to blossom.

Automotive Use Cases for AR/VR Technology

"Automotive OEMs need to address technological challenges before AR HUDs hit the mainstream market," says Dominique Bonte, vice president at ABI Research.

These challenges include how to capture and interpret road geometry through computing intensive sensor fusion, precise vehicle positioning, laser projection, driver monitoring via inward facing cameras, and designing sophisticated algorithms to generate precise augmentation content in the viewing field of the driver.

Leading car OEMs exploring AR interfaces include Faraday Future, Ford, Hyundai, JLR, Hyundai, and PSA. Technology suppliers include Continental and its subsidiary Elektrobit, as well as Denso and WayRay.

AR automotive technology extends beyond HUDs, with other use cases including AR manuals, which Audi and Ford recently launched, and see-through applications that combine vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications with AR and future 5G low latency wireless broadband connectivity to enhance driver visibility.

Exploring Market Development Opportunities

Car OEMs like Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are exploring VR automotive applications through virtual pre-sales experiences to boost online vehicle marketing business models. Faraday Future is also using VR, but to design vehicles, saving costs in building prototypes and accelerating the time to market.

Nonetheless, with automotive OEMs expecting augmented reality applications to transform vehicle manufacturing and maintenance processes, AR HUDs run the risk of cognitive overload caused by displaying location-based advertising messages or any other type of secondary, infotainment information.

"It will be critical to use AR sparingly, in a minimalistic way, and only to display relevant, contextual information when needed to improve the driver's perception of the road environment and reducing response times," concludes Bonte.

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