Uninterrupted connectivity paired with safe and low-stress driving is possible only with new approaches to display and operation. Audi has stepped up the pace of development in this area.
The head-up display of tomorrow
Audi already offers numerous display and operation technologies which enable drivers to remain composed and in control. One of them is the head-up display, which lets drivers keep their eyes on the road. All key information from the areas of navigation, traffic signs, the car itself and assistance systems appear to hover about 2.3 meters (7.55 feet) in front of the driver, in his or her direct field of vision.
The next generation of this technology will take a significant step forward. A type of display known as the contact-analogue head-up display positions symbols right in the real environment. As an Audi approaches an intersection with the navigation system activated, the driver sees a transparent route arrow outside of the vehicle, positioned precisely at the real intersection. As the intersection nears, the arrow becomes larger. At a distance of 10 meters (32.81 feet), it appears to be about the same size as a real physical arrow on the pavement.
That is not all that contact-analogue head-up displays will be able to do. In hilly terrain, the navigation arrow can show the direction the road will take after the hilltop. If the driver is driving with adaptive cruise control activated, the distance to the vehicle ahead is displayed conspicuously. If the night vision system is active, and a pedestrian steps out onto the street, the display precisely shows the direction the pedestrian is coming from and his or her distance from the car. In the contact-analogue head-up display, the projection window – which is referred to as the eyebox – is located somewhat higher on the windshield than today and is about as large as an iPad.
The head-up displays of tomorrow will be able to show information just to the driver or just the front-seat passenger – or to all vehicle occupants. In this scenario, the driver and the front-seat passenger will each have a dedicated head-up display showing digital travel guidebooks, the news or video-call images. Visible to all occupants is a central third projection, whose image appears to lie on the windshield.
Information which the driver needs is portrayed in the form of symbols, still images, and simple animations. Some symbols, such as the navigation arrow, are shown via the contact-analogue head-up display. The front-seat passenger, conversely, can take full advantage of video functions. The images he sees are generated by means of DLP (Digital Light Processing), a new technology which boosts brightness and contrast.
If the front-seat passenger comes across an interesting destination in a digital travel guidebook, such as a restaurant, he can swipe it to the central screen with a simple movement. It will be displayed there as a still image.
The driver can then opt to swipe the destination to his head-up display to have the navigation system add the destination to the route. A small camera detects the movements and directs the appropriate signals to the system.
As for upcoming control concepts, Audi has plenty more in store. The brand is working on multi-touch technology similar to that found in smartphones and tablets. A multi-touch approach makes it much faster and simpler to use lists, maps, and similar information.
The equipment, data, and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.