Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Jaguar Land Rover have developed a head-up display that can relay safety information on a car's windscreen and stream 3D movies to passengers.

Speed limits and lane markings will be highlighted for drivers on the 3D head-up display (Credit: Jaguar Land Rover)

Speed limits and lane markings will be highlighted for drivers on the 3D head-up display (Credit: Jaguar Land Rover)

A new 3D head-up display has been developed that can project safety alerts and satellite navigation system directions directly onto car windscreens.

The next-generation augmented reality display, developed by British car maker Jaguar Land Rover in collaboration with the centre for advanced photonics and electronics (CAPE) at the University of Cambridge, is capable of projecting real-time road safety information in the driver’s line of sight.

Its designers claim the use of 3D displays and overlays can help improve driver reaction times and judgment of depth.

Prof Daping Chu, director of the CAPE research centre, said: “This programme is at the forefront of development in the virtual reality space — we’re looking at concepts and components which will set the scene for the connected, shared and autonomous cars of the future.

“CAPE Partners are world-leading players strategically positioned in the value chain network.

“Their engagement provides a unique opportunity to make a greater impact on society and further enhance the business value of our enterprises.”

The technology forms part of Jaguar Land Rovers plans to create a “smart cabin” for its vehicles, which will provide drivers and passengers with enhanced safety and in-car entertainment features.

Valerian Meijering, human machine interface researcher for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Not only does it provide a much richer experience for customers, but it also forms part of our Destination Zero roadmap, helping us to move towards a safer, more intuitive and smarter future for everybody.”


Applications for the 3D head-up display

The 3D head-up display technology has a variety of applications for both drivers and passengers.

3d head up display
The technology could allow passengers to watch 3D movies in cars (Credit: Jaguar Land Rover)

In low-light or bad weather conditions, such as heavy rain or fog, the augmented reality windscreen could help to improve visibility and display lane guides.

Similarly, 3D alerts could map lane departure points directly onto the road and highlight any upcoming hazards the driver might have missed.

However road safety charities have warned of an over-reliance on technology by drivers.

Rebecca Needham, road safety and evaluation officer for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “We welcome the development of any vehicle technology that may improve driver reaction times and have the potential to reduce the number of road accidents.

“However, as with any vehicle technology, there could be a danger that drivers can over-rely on technology or become distracted by it.

“Therefore, RoSPA would like to see independent research carried out to evaluate whether infotainment systems, head-up displays and large-screen digital touch-screens have a positive or negative safety impact on a driver’s ability to spot hazards, observational ability and general road awareness.”

In the future, Jaguar Land Rover believes its augmented reality head-up display could be used in autonomous vehicles to let passengers stream 3D movies, highlight points of interest and provide journey updates.