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GM Working On Interactive Windshields

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the look-and-touch-where-you're-going dept.

GUI 307

this_boat_is_real writes "Rather than project info onto a portion of the windshield, GM's latest experiment uses the entire windshield as a display. Small ultraviolet lasers project data gleaned from sensors and cameras onto the glass. General Motors geeks are working alongside researchers from several universities to develop a system that integrates night vision, navigation and on-board cameras to improve our ability to see — and avoid — problems, particularly in adverse conditions like fog."

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Tron-mode? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521394)

As in the movie, not the BASIC command. Seriously, that's what the mockup (I'm assuming it's a mockup) looks like...Tron-mode.

This has some real potential, I hope it isn't another bit of vaporware....

Just What we Need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31522170)

This is just what we need. More distractions in the car. Though, I hope this can be remotely hackable. It would be cool to make flying penises appear on people's windshields...

Reward vs risk? (1, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521396)

Given GM's historical failures, and their new immunity from market forces (thank you taxpayers), it's not the place best suited to develop this kind of tech, if indeed this tech is necessary. What's wrong with driving more slowly in the fog? Why do I need HUD, or worse, banner ads, on my windshield? If Toyota, once the paragon of automotive quality, can bork up the drive-by-wire system, it doesn't bode well for GM. I don't want my windshield blue-screening on me.

Re:Reward vs risk? (1)

protodevilin (1304731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521430)

...or worse yet, misinterpreting/incorrectly displaying the road and objects in your vehicle's path (like the second photo appears to do). I'd rather keep my trust in my own eyes when I'm behind the wheel, thank you.

Re:Reward vs risk? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521576)

How is the second photo misrepresenting an object? It's highlighting a speed limit sign that you need to pay attention to.

Re:Reward vs risk? (3, Insightful)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521748)

I don't want my attention drawn to a speed signs.

How am I suppose to tell the cop I didn't know I was in a 50 km/h zone with my stupid windshield pointing out all the frigging signs to me.

Re:Reward vs risk? (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522028)

How is the Speed Limit sign something you need to pay attention to and have highlighted in red?

First of all most people drive down the same roads regularly and know the speed limits, this system would pretty soon become irritating and a distraction.

The Speed limit for a road is pretty much set by the type of road it is, you really don't need to see a sign to have a good idea of the appropriate speed for a particular road .

Finally the GPS which your almost certain to have, if you have this system, knows how fast you are travelling and the speed limit for the road.

Red is pretty much always used to indicate danger of something critical it's a bad color to use for that sort of information amber might make more sense if you have to highlight this sort of information. I would save red for things in your path or moving into your path - real dangers.

Speed limits are not setting the speed for a road the road conditions are and the driver needs to be able to evaluate the road conditions and drive at an appropriate speed.

If a driver is incapable of determining appropriate speed and evaluating the road conditions then they really shouldn't be driving.

Re:Reward vs risk? (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521658)

Actually, this leads to an interesting question - positional accuracy.

This information is going to be projected on a windshield - a surface that is several feet from your head. Different drivers from different positions are going to have different viewpoints. Someone who is 5' 2" and is sitting in a seat cranked all the way forward is going to be looking through the windshield at a significantly different angle from someone like me (6' 3") sitting in a seat cranked all the way back, and even I sit in different positions based on whether someone is behind me, etc.

Heck, move a few inches to one side and the perspective is going to be thrown totally off.

This is irrelevant for the Buick HUD that displays your current speed, since it really doesn't matter exactly where that "floats", but if it's going to highlight the roadside or some other "position critical" information for me, this is going to be a problem.

There ARE good uses for the sensor technology they talk about. But I don't think a windshield HUD is going to be one of them, sadly.

Re:Reward vs risk? (2, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521456)

Depends what fog.

I faced fog that really obscured anything further than on your lane. No road signs, no turns, no edges of the road. You could still drive safely at a snail's speed, but finding the way was a real challenge. An "augmented reality" GPS display that shows where the actual road goes would be immensely helpful.

Re:Reward vs risk? (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521522)

I can do without fancy lightshows while I'm driving. But, if they can project upcoming terrain and potential hazards a few hundred feet ahead in blanket-thick fog, I'm all for it! If they can perfect this technology, there are many, many customers who wouldn't hesitate for a second to buy one of their vehicles with this tech, assuming it was in an appropriate price range.

Re:Reward vs risk? (1)

God of Lemmings (455435) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521470)

You have yet to experience driving through fog so thick you cannot see past the front hood of your car or rain pouring so quickly the wipers do nothing.

Yes, we need this.

Re:Reward vs risk? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521836)

I use Rain-X on my windshield for that type of rain. It helps. It's still a mess, but Rain-X and silicone wipers REALLY helps. At a point, you can just shut the wipers off; they don't help, even silicone wipers don't help. However, with Rain-X on the windshield, the water beads and streams off; you get a messy display of rivulets of water to look through, rather than a sheet of water that acts as a giant distorting lens.

These are conditions most people shouldn't be driving in.

Re:Reward vs risk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521838)

... Or snow so thick that it obscures the road and the ditch next to it...

Re:Reward vs risk? (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521918)

You have yet to experience driving through fog so thick you cannot see past the front hood of your car or rain pouring so quickly the wipers do nothing.

Hint: This is when you pull over and wait for the weather to clear before killing yourself/someone else.

Re:Reward vs risk? (3, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521994)

Most people with common sense know if you can't see you shouldn't drive, I know that some cases are unavoidable long bridges in Florida where you're not supposed to stop are the most obvious case. The problem with this system is that it will give morons a sense of security, similar to dumb-asses in SUVs going way too fast in the snow, who think they are invincible because they have 4 wheel drive until they try to stop their 1 ton SUV and slam into something, every winter I see more SUV's off the road then anything else. This has the potential to be a great innovation hopefully GM will try to moron proof it by disabling the feature when visibility is low and the car is traveling too fast.

Re:Reward vs risk? (2, Interesting)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521550)

What's wrong with driving more slowly in the fog?

The people who don't, for one thing. This system can help you avoid them, or help them avoid you.

Why do I need HUD, or worse, banner ads, on my windshield?

I don't think you'll see ads on your windshield. Too distracting, there would be lawsuits and finger pointing every time such a car was involved in an accident.

I don't want my windshield blue-screening on me.

I'm sure they would test to make sure the system can't obscure your vision of the road. Worst case scenario is it has a problem and turns itself off (that would be a sane course of action), and you're no worse off than you are today without such a system.

Re:Reward vs risk? (1, Insightful)

Aeros (668253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521614)

right their going to put banner ads on your windshield. Why exactly shouldn't GM look towards the future, that's what successful companies do you know. Just because they had some financial problems recently doesn't mean they always will. Maybe if they come up with a new technology that really catches on they will finish paying off their loan from the government and be successful once again. If only they had a new technology they were working on...

Re:Reward vs risk? (0, Troll)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521844)

-They're- is a contraction of -they are- -Their- is the 3rd person plural possessive -There- refers to a position. Why is this so hard? And why do we let people vote that don't know the difference? Or even go out in public?

Re:Reward vs risk? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521898)

Why exactly shouldn't GM look towards the future, that's what successful companies do you know.

      Yes my father still has some Moon tickets from Pan Am [wikipedia.org] . That was another company "looking towards the future". Unfortunately after Pan Am went bankrupt, no one else seems to want to honor those tickets...

      Just a little hint, "looking towards the future" does not MAKE a company successful. It's a luxury that successful companies can allow themselves in order to stay ahead of the competition. In GM's case, however, returning to PROFITABILITY should be the priority. Gambling on exotic technologies that would only marginally increase sales is not the surest path to profitability. But hey what do I care - I'm not American, it's not like I am the one footing the bill for all of this crap.

Re:Reward vs risk? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521776)

I for one think it would be nice to have more advance notice that there's something in front of me, in the fog or heavy rain; and, have some contextual indication of the distance. Highlighting objects in the road at night would be nice too. If adding an infrared sensor or two and a HUD can do that, then I want it. I will still drive slowly, because I don't have a death wish.

Re:Reward vs risk? (2, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521802)

You can't fuck up drive-by-wire because drive-by-wire itself is a fuck up. Tie a bike cable to your accelerator and hook the other end to your throttle at tension. This is the perfect throttle control system, just like 2-system hydraulics with a side-channel booster (i.e. if it fails, it no longer supplies assistance; but the hydraulics still work) is the perfect braking system (especially since if the whole engine AND electrical system AND half the braking hydraulics catastrophically fail, you can still stop).

There's all this "efficiency" crap, about how we need drive-by-wire to tune that last little 0.1% of fuel economy out and get better MPG. Also we need low rolling resistance tires (and less handling and grip with the road-- sticky tires might cost you a MPG over low-grip low-rolling-resistance fuel economy tires). EFI and electronic ignition isn't enough; we need full tank-to-air-to-cylinder fuel mix and combustion management.

Meanwhile the US gets the lowest fuel economy ever out of the world; everyone else has gasoline cars averaging over 30mpg for real, while we have EPA rated 36mpg cars (the Pontiac G6, which is a Chevy Cobalt which was rated for 32mpg...) but they really get 24mpg highway and 21-22mpg city. I recall Japan averaging over 40mpg on non-hybrid petrol cars; while Europe is averaging 50-60mpg (someone I knew got 80mpg on a rental during a trip though, wtf?) in diesel cars.

We're doing something wrong, and putting a computer between the accelerator and the throttle isn't it. I don't like software bugs being able to floor it for me. And Toyota and Mercedes-Benz can go to hell with their up-and-coming Brake-by-Wire systems.

Re:Reward vs risk? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521824)

If Toyota, once the paragon of automotive quality, can bork up the drive-by-wire system,

      This is an allegation and has not been proven. In fact, the inability for any independent third party to reproduce this error after all this time makes it highly unlikely that a manufacturing/design error in fact exists. What is far more likely is that there could have been some isolated problems, and everyone else is jumping on the "ME TOO OMG FREE MONIES" bandwagon, hoping to get rich from an eventual lawsuit based on their fraudulent claims. Once again the American "jackpot justice" system is striking a blow for idiocy.

Re:Reward vs risk? (1)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522056)

Nor is the allegation that Toyota is building cars any more dependable than GM at this point.. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Porsche-takes-top-spot-in-apf-111859279.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=6&asset=28d49af46608d8e86ab2bd48131ba53b&ccode=mp [yahoo.com]

Gambling on exotic technologies that would only marginally increase sales is not the surest path to profitability. But hey what do I care - I'm not American

Nor are you an automobile marketing guru (nor am I), but looking at history, it should be obvious to anyone that new fangled gizoms, like FM radio, Air conditioning, cruise control; despite the sanctimonious outrage folks like yourself, DO end up helping cars sell...

If its a technology, like ABS or ESC, which, again despite the howls of protest from so-called auto aficionados , have made cars demonstrably and quantifiable safer. Well then, all the better...

GM, or any other car company, would be derelict not to at the very least, explore these kinds of technologies

Re:Reward vs risk? (2, Interesting)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521978)

There's a reason more and more new production aircraft are coming out with HUD and EVS systems. Better visibility and having data in the field of view beats not having it every day of the week. The same can be applied to cars; having an infrared camera projecting an overlay (not a replacement image, but a transparent overlay) would increase visibility at night or in fog/rain.

Look up "gulfstream evs" on youtube for an idea. The tracing and outlining stuff in TFA is something entirely different.

I want something like this:

Combine it with 3D glasses (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521432)

"Wow, it's like those other cars are coming right towards me!"

About time... (1)

V2Blast (893608) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521444)

Finally, someone who matters (that is, someone with money) starts working on some projection technology. This has quite a bit of potential. Hopefully, they'll stick with it long enough to make something useful of it, instead of abandoning it early on.

Privacy... (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521478)

Would it be somehow physically possible to have the information visible only from the inside? Doesn't matter much for ordinary data, of course, but if you're going to rig it up to a car computer...

Re:Privacy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521556)

Physically possible, sure. Emit a frequency that your windshield absorbs.
In the same vein, I hope that you won't be able to activate this from the outside... That could make for some obnoxious and highly lethal spam.

Re:Privacy... (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521896)

Or obnoxious visual field jamming on police demand, like OnStar or that "Webtech Plus" thingie. Or on computer bastard demand, if the auth key is stolen/exfiltrated.

I can't wait for Clippy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521492)

It looks like you are trying to crash.
Would you like to
( ) Buy more insurance
( ) Change your beneficiary

It gives new meaning to BSOD.

Combine it with a Microsoft car OS... (5, Funny)

Michael_gr (1066324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521500)

And the Blue Windshield of Death will actually cause your death.

Re:Combine it with a Microsoft car OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521770)

And the Blue Windshield of Death will actually cause your death.

Yeah, but right before you die, you will think you're racing through the sky towards heaven. What a peaceful way to go. OTOH, folks who survive will make a nuisance of themselves for having their near death experience and seeing God and Heaven and whatnot.

Re:Combine it with a Microsoft car OS... (1)

ItzRobZ (1761366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521788)

Depending on your car's color, the blue screen might make it look cool on the outside =D

"Active Windshield" - what I want (4, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521538)

I live west of my place of employment, and the recent time change has given me it's yearly double-whammy. When you live west of where you work, it means that you're driving east in the morning to get there, and west in the evening to get home. Depending on start and stop times, it means that the sun can be right on the horizon, blinding you at both times. This happens for a few weeks each spring and fall, until the sun rises earlier and sets later, so that the visor can adequately and easily block it. Then time change comes, knocking the sun back down to the horizon.

I want an "active windshield" that knows where my eyeballs are, knows where the sun is, and blackens just the right spot (with a little margin, of course) to shade my eyes. Compared to that, any heads-up displays are secondary.

overall useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521540)

This seems like interesting tech, and certainly it would provide some level of safety improvement over current cars. However, it seems to me that its just a waste of time. When road travel becomes automated the computer isnt going to need a visual display of the sensor data, and indeed the windshield would be a better place for an lcd display or similar displaying a satellite tv feed. with the pace tech has been developing in the last century, surely its not so far away that cars will be aware of themselves and all those around them in 3d space, ie; the cars in minority report. I can only see development in anything purely for a human driver as wasted development. How much use would we expect to get from this before its superceded?

Re:overall useless (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521958)

IMHO this tech is an important step to perfecting cars that can drive on their own. Sure right now it's giving feedback to the driver, but the same underlying system would be used by a computer to navigate the car. Although, I don't think people would ever be comfortable with the idea of a car driving itself. For some reason people tend to not trust devices that can make a split second decision in a nanosecond, I'm assuming its for the same reason as in the movie "I, Robot". Computers a calculating and will make the decision for the best outcome.

I remember a joke: There was this guy driving along and he sees a hitch hiker. Being nice he stops and picks the guy up, a mistake he almost immediately regrets as the hitch hiker won't shut-up. After about an hour of non-stop babbling the driver figures he could scare the guy into shutting up. The driver spots a cyclist on the side of the highway. He slams down the accelerator and screeches off toward the cyclist veering away just before the imminent collision. Passing the cyclist the driver hears a thud and interrupts the hitch hiker, who didn't seem to take any notice and kept on talking, the driver says, "What was that?". The hitch hiker responds, "Oh, it looked like you were going to miss him so I opened the door."

If the computer was driving that joke wouldn't be nearly as funny... well, if it was funny at all.

Re:overall useless (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521980)

if road travel became "automated" I would break the computer and regain manual control of the car. I can hold my speed steadier than my cruise control; I can react to traction loss faster than the traction control in the computer (I can feel it before it causes the wheels to slip that much, thanks to steering and engine braking response); and I see problems before they become problems, like nervous/confused drivers (I've made note of a driver 2 lanes over, followed for a mile, and then signaled and started to change lanes; and suddenly he's drifting into the lane I'm changing into, which is exactly why I waited a mile to see what he was going to do! But I'm ready to react to that).

I've yet to find anything a computer can do better than me, and I've watched people lose it when traction control kicks the back of their car -- a valid action, except they've gone way too far beyond the limits of the road and nothing will recover them-- and managed to (barely) steer around them without traction control, with my car trying to spin and slide, with me making 50 little adjustments to my steering, throttle, braking, clutch, gear stick... half of this is probably me actually being aware of what my vehicle is doing, instead of cruising along while the computer does all this to keep me steady and I have no idea I'm failing to keep road connection until I really, really need to push it.

HUD (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521554)

Its called a HUD (Heads Up Display) - jet fighters have had this sort of thing for a few decades.

Re:HUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521778)

But not in hardcore mode!

Re:HUD (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522134)

...and as installed in cars for at least 10 years .....

Really you can already buy or build a HUD for your car now ...

this is just :

a) built in
b) using the whole windscreen rather than a small part of it

What about replacements? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521564)

Great, so instead of a new windshield costing $100-$200, you'd have to pay $2000 to get one from a dealer.

Yes, I live in Utah where the endless road construction has cracked two of my windshields in the last year so this is a concern for me.

Re:What about replacements? (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522150)

What makes you think that ?
Their not replacing the windscreen in any way - they are using laser projectors to paint images ONTO the windscreen - the actual windscreen is still what it always was -a piece of (hopefully shatterprufe) glass.

Re:What about replacements? (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522210)

Great, so instead of a new windshield costing $100-$200, you'd have to pay $2000 to get one from a dealer.

Yes, I live in Utah where the endless road construction has cracked two of my windshields in the last year so this is a concern for me.

Damn, wish windshields were that cheap around here. No way I'd get a windshield for less than €300.

How about first... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521574)

Making "decent", efficiant, cars before working on further power drains.... I would love a car with a better alloy of steel, or even perhaps frames of aluminium bronze, with lightweight plastic coverings.... Immune to rusting out after five years.... And maybe a decent engine. Or go the path of Honda.... Build an electric car as you want it: the best motors, interior, etc, but instead of a ton of batteries, use a fuel cell to hold the energy in the form of quick to refuel hydrogen.... If a battery can ever be made that fits and fuels, cool, but until then you can get the kinks out everywhere else until that advancement has been made....
  I say, make fewer, better cars.... Cranking out miles of unsellable crap doesn't help in the long run...

Re:How about first... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522002)

Hydrogen needs to be cooled to -192F with a high power drain active cooling system using liquid nitrogen, otherwise it leaks out of a steel storage tank.

Old news (1, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521596)

This is nothing new. I saw a concept video of something similar from GM in 1994. From TFA:

General Motors has been fiddling around with head-up displays for 22 years now


GM has no immediate plans to offer the technology in production models, but Seder says some of features could appear in vehicles at some point.

Yeah, "could" appear "at some point." This is epic vaporware. Maybe spending millions researching cool gadgets and never bringing them to market is part of the reason GM went bankrupt.

Re:Old news (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521752)

Now, now, GM never went bankrupt, and never declared that they were insolvent (although they clearly were). Maybe knowing that the State will bankroll them whenever it's necessary is the reason why they spend millions researching cool gadgets and never bring them to market.

I don't believe the problem of safety is cars... (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521606)

Its most importantly the roads and drivers.. Drivers being one of the hardest things to fix but roads being the expensive thing to fix. Some roads are great, but some are destined to claim the lives of hundreds of people over the life span of the road.

What i don't get, is why we don't engineer our roads to be safer? If you build a road between a valley and there are 100 deer accidents a year, don't you think it would have been better to have built a raised road so the deer can go under the road and through the only choke point in the entire valley rather then get themselves killed and a few humans while they're at it?

I don't think fog is a problem.. slow down
I don't think rain is a problem - slow down and make sure your tires are safe to begin with

However both those problems can be addressed with roads once again. - roads that correctly drain water so you don't hydroplane off into someones yard or into opposing traffic. Roads that have grade variations so you know when you're traveling outside your direction of travel - so on and so forth.

Love technology, but firm believer in the simplest technology being the best technology since its less prone to failure and mistakes.

fog is a problem, pull over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521736)

you cant drive all the time

Re:I don't believe the problem of safety is cars.. (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522038)

R030A Bridgestone performance summer wet-dry tires (don't use in snow; get performance winter tires for that) will hold onto the road like nothing, rain or shine, no hydroplaning. They hold up for a while. They're suitable for racing... in the rain. They also costs $150+ each; $30 tires that float around when it rains are more appealing to consumers, because what do I need fancy tires for?

Re:I don't believe the problem of safety is cars.. (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522154)

..Roads are cheap in contrast to lives

But the people who maintain the road do not pay anything when you die ... so roads look expensive to them

Terminator-vision (1)

j-turkey (187775) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521610)

Yes please; I'll take one. The aftermarket applications are pretty cool, as well. I'm imagining a standardized API where third-party developers can build their own add-ons. For example, GPS manufacturers and use this for an enhanced lane-assist technology, indicating what lane a driver is in, and what lane a driver needs to be in. Or even for something as basic as sending information from the car's "infotainment" system to keep the driver focused on the road. (Reality check: auto manufacturers are notoriously bad at developing/using standardized interfaces - except when forced, as in the example of OBD II...but hey, I'm just imagining.) I can also see applications for police & emergency service vehicles; tie it in with license plate recognition, multiple target vehicle speed displays, etc.

However, since this appears limited perspective of the driver, how annoying will this be for passengers? Passengers will see lines projected onto the windshield that don't match up with the road from their perspective. I wonder if polarization technology can be used to limit the projected lines to the driver's perspective only.

Non-average driving positions? (1)

inigopete (780297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521618)

Using a 2D display space (the windshield interior) to provide information about a 3D (real-world outside foggy road) space carries flaws.

The display needs to know the driver's eye position to create an accurate representation of where the edge of the road should be in their vision. Without this, I assume the display would be calibrated for an "average" driving position. This poses problems not only for short, tall or just low-slung drivers slouched in their seats, but also fails to accommodate that in low visibility most people change their driving position and "crane their necks" or stick their heads forwards in order to give the impression of being able to see better through the fog.

Re:Non-average driving positions? (1)

inigopete (780297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521648)

...as the second photo in TOA shows - a difference in position can markedly effect the image of the bend and thus the driver's perception of the right speed or approach to that bend.

Re:Non-average driving positions? (3, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521686)

As the video shows they are doing active head and eye tracking of the drivers position in space and adjust the image accordingly.

Obvious drawback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521642)

Drug runners driving at night are gonna love it.

Great, more distractions for drivers... (2, Insightful)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521644)

Unless this is done VERY carefully, I'm afraid it'll just end up distracting most drivers. Yes, head-up displays have existed in fighter jets, etc. for decades, but those pilots are highly trained to process all the data given to them. Throw an average driver into a car that suddenly starts highlighting road signs, etc. and you risk distracting him. What happens if the system freaks out as you drive down a street with tons of road signs? You could end up flooding the windshield with lots of neon lines as the system tries to highlight all of them. And how do you decide exactly what to highlight? Suppose it highlights a person crossing the street in darkness a mile down the road? The driver will get distracted trying to figure out what the car is warning him about.

Now imagine all this being done with a teenager behind the wheel who just got his license...

Re:Great, more distractions for drivers... (3, Insightful)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521772)

You could simply put in sanity checks for the number of highlighted entities/on-screen information density. Each type of displayed object having a priority and a weight, based on screen area covered, distance to other objects, and such...

Re:Great, more distractions for drivers... (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521798)

Suppose it highlights a person crossing the street in darkness a mile down the road? The driver will get distracted trying to figure out what the car is warning him about.

That's the idea. Being 'distracted' by things you might run into is a good thing. Danger is when you are distracted by things inside the car. Obviously noise is an issue, but it should actually be fairly easy to shut off if the noise ratio gets above a certain threshold.

And by 'easy,' I mean that this is something you won't see even on military vehicles until 2015, and won't reach consumer prices until 2025, which would also be around when I'd expect strong AI.

Re:Great, more distractions for drivers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521878)

What's she wearing?

Oh, HIS license.....as you were.


Re:Great, more distractions for drivers... (1)

ArtuRock (932265) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521882)

I'm no expert, but when I think about the consequences of a pilot getting momentarily distracted, and he, say, doesn't make a turn when he otherwise would have, most of the time the result will be his aircraft will run into.... air. This is in contrast to a driver where, most of the time, the same situation results in the vehicle running into something.

Re:Great, more distractions for drivers... (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522092)

It will become white noise just like banner adds on web-pages before add block, road signs are off to the side and are not a primary focus point if anything it will condition people to only focus on whats directly ahead of them.

Still waiting... (2, Funny)

stakovahflow (1660677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521666)

I'm still waiting for the "Back to the Future" cars to start surfacing. We were promised those cars over 20 years ago. Where are they?

Oh, and "hover boards"... Where are they? I don't see 'em...

When, GM? When will you give me what I want?!?!

No government funds for you!

Re:Still waiting... (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522032)

I'm still waiting for the "Back to the Future" cars to start surfacing.

DeLoreans [wikipedia.org] have been around for years. The company started in 1975 and went bankrupt in 1982.

Driver's perspective? (2, Insightful)

Ivan Stepaniuk (1569563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521694)

How do they draw a line that represents the edge of the road without knowing the exact position of the drivers eyes? This is just half of the puzzle.

Re:Driver's perspective? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521816)

In the video from TFA they show the part of the system that tracks the driver's eyes and adjusts the HUD accordingly.

Re:Driver's perspective? (2, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521818)

Actually that's a pretty easy problem to solve, given that there's never more than one driver. A headband would be an obvious solution, but there are at least 5 that would work fine.

Re:Driver's perspective? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521862)

Maybe they get road crews to paint a reflective white stripe on the edge of the road that reflects light from headlights

Re:Driver's perspective? (2, Interesting)

happylight (600739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521892)

That doesn't sound very hard. You can figure out where the driver's eyes are by the orientation of the rare view and side view mirrors. On that note, since you're supposed to adjust those mirrors before you start driving, it's just one more thing to adjust before you drive off.

One thing worries me... (4, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521720)

It can improve safety of driving in poor weather conditions immensely comparing to current situation. But I'm afraid it will have a reverse effect in reality: increasing driver's confidence ("the HUD displays the road far ahead, so there is no danger") will result in increasing the speed in these conditions, and result in more serious accidents because the system can't foresee everything - obstacles on the road, slippery surface, other cars that don't have it and drive blindly - the kind of accidents slow and cautious driving would help against, or at least minimize impact.

Re:One thing worries me... (5, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521988)

That's what scares me, too. It's like 4WD here in Maine - if you go down the highway after a snowstorm, you'll pretty much see only two types of cars - very small light cars and SUVs. The former because the cars simply can't handle the conditions, and the latter because some 4X4 drivers became severely overconfident in the capabilities of their vehicle and think 4X4 is some form of magic glue that sticks the wheels to the road. The 4x4s are the ones that get really banged up, because their drivers have been running at or above the speed limit.

That and the possibility of some sort of malfunction at an ill-timed moment. A bunch of drivers tootling down the highway in deep fog, all tailgating one another just like they do in clear conditions, and the second car in line has his sensors hit by a rock kicked up by the first car, and it knocks the sensors off kilter or out of order. Second driver is now completely blind in heavy traffic.

If used to enhance defensive driving, this kind of system could be really useful. Especially using senses like IR to detect problems that may not be very visible (pedestrian in dark clothing walking up to crosswalk at night) or providing useful safety information (paint the 3-foot barrier line around the cyclist, and estimate whether you have enough room to safely pass him based on the speed of oncoming traffic in the opposing lane). Combine this with GPS to "mark" the road you want to drive down, and maybe even "paint" the road names on roads you are passing by, and turn-by-turn GPS is suddenly a lot less distracting.

But that's not how it's going to be used, at least not exclusively. For every driver using this as additional information while driving at a speed they can support without the enhancements, you'll have at least one that turn the system on, put the "Top Gun" soundtrack in, crank it to 11, and drive down the highway in 20-foot-visibility fog at 70MPH following the painted lines.

But (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521734)

I still won't buy a car from them.

Re:But (1)

turbotroll (1378271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521804)

I still won't buy a car from them.

Good choice, boycott those losers.

Re:But (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522040)

I've had 2 American cars in my lifetime. Both of them brand new from the dealer.

A Ford, where the driver's side window got stuck 2 weeks after buying it. Then the passenger side window got stuck a month after that. Then about 4 months later the accelerator cable snapped. Then the gear shift LEVER broke off in my hand. Then the transmission went... then I sold it.

A Chevy, which had the "standard" water pump problem for the model at 20,000 miles. Then at 40,000 miles it caught fire due to a ruptured fuel line cleverly placed right above the exhaust manifold, and almost killed me.

Strangely, I haven't ever had trouble with the 8 Hondas, Nissans and Toyotas I have had since then.

So to GM: even with fancy bells and whistles I will never buy a GM car (or an American car) again. It would just be a few years before the competition included an improved version of this technology anyway.

Re:But (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522200)

My problem with Japanese vehicles is that they don't offer me what I want. I like their cars, but their trucks are inadequate. They have adequate trucks in other markets (Toyota HiLux, Nissan Patrol) but they don't bring them here. Even if they did, they wouldn't come with diesels due to the emissions equipment; both companies sell numerous vehicles that they sell in the states in other countries, but with diesels as an option. The pickups only have maybe 4 liter diesels at the largest. Ford is about to offer a half-ton diesel, allegedly. If Nissan would offer me a 3.5 liter turbo diesel patrol here in the USA, I'd like to own one. I can't afford a new car anyway though, so even if they brought it out tomorrow, I'd still be rocking my antique 7.3 liter diesel ford F250 for some time.

You mean, like the Mach Five? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521766)

Pops Racer stored the plans for the engine of the Mach Five in the windshield:

Once again, GM is playing catch-up with Japanese innovation.

SAAB? (1)

turbotroll (1378271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521794)

Most likely SAAB technology. They were first who intended to use HUD in a car, after all.

Tnx $god SAAB continues its life outside GM. FU GM!

The Need for Speed (1)

ItzRobZ (1761366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521860)

I wonder if we will be able to play Need for Speed on the screen. Just imagine getting kicked out of the bedroom by your wife. Instead of sleeping on the couch and watching TV till you fall asleep, why not go to your car and play some Need for Speed!

Learn to drive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31521942)

Here's an idea: learn how to drive. This includes adjusting your speed to the environment around you. Rain? Slow down. Fog? Slow the f**k down.

My car has fog lights for "historical" reasons--before I even knew her, my father-in-law took my wife to a dealership, and she picked every option since she wasn't paying. Now I have that car, and having driven in fog, I'll say it: the fog lights are nothing but a $300 dealer upsell.

"Interactive Windshield" (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31521962)

When I started designing machinery, I was told to never underestimate the stupidity of the end user. So, I had to learn to idiot-proof my designs. Now so long as enough of them interact with their windshields I could actually start designing for more intelligent people before I retire. Hell, I might even open up a car lot!

Even better... (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31522052)

...would be to build in network where these HUD-enabled cars can talk to each other so the car behind can be alerted of conditions or danger by the car ahead. Eventually, once enough of these are on the road, your entire route could be planned out before the trip even takes place based on information it receives from all the other vehicles.
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