New Device Displays Directions Right on Windshield

Jul 8, 2013 5:11pm

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Even though our portable devices have made navigating road trips a lot easier, there are still some pretty prominent annoyances. Ever try to reattach the suction cup of your GPS mount while keeping up with highway traffic? Or miss a turn because the smartphone app you used barely spoke above a whisper?

These inconveniences aren’t a problem for cars whose navigation equipment is synced to a head-up display, or HUD. The HUD displays information directly in the driver’s line of sight, and there’s no need to look away from the road. But  spending thousands of dollars for a HUD installation isn’t that appealing.

Dan Bartel, the vice president of worldwide sales at Garmin, said that the company is ready to take on the task of making this luxury car item accessible on all cars. “[Garmin's] HUD makes this technology available as an aftermarket accessory for any vehicle, at an affordable price,” he said in a statement on Garmin’s blog.

Though there are some portable HUDs available on the the market today, they rarely do more than act as  secondary dashboards. The Garmin HUD is a small rectangular device that sits atop the driver’s side of the dashboard. It wirelessly connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and displays navigation information directly onto the windshield or an attached reflector lens.

Having that type of information always within a driver’s sight might just be an additional distraction. But some firsthand accounts  from those driving a luxury car equipped with a HUD argue otherwise.

Johan Broer, a media specialist at Garmin, sees the HUD as a useful tool to complement a driver. “You’ll be able to see the road at the same time as the navigation information,” he told ABC News. “The less time it takes to look at the display, the less distracting it is.”

The HUD’s product page says that it hasn’t yet been officially authorized for sale by the Federal Communications Commission. But  Broer said that it’s a standard procedure with many of their devices. “They’re communicating with satellites, so we frequently post these disclaimers before [the devices] are approved,” he said.

When it does go on sale, it will cost $129.99. Potential buyers will also need to factor in the cost of either the Navigon or Garmin StreetPilot apps to their phones, which will cost an additional $29.99-$59.99, depending on the regions you want to navigate with the HUD.

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