AR on Your Windshields: Magic in the Making

The year is 2088, you’re lounging back in the seat of your driverless car. Cars, buildings and trees are passing by in a flash. You look in front of you. Instead of a boring static screen that’s just a window to your surroundings, there’s an ultra-hip windshield that displays weather, speed, traffic predictions and whatnot. Everything that you need to know is just a breath away. But there’s one thing wrong with this picture: the year wouldn’t be 2088, it would be much closer than that.

Remember when Siri made her entry in our world and everyone was caught in the whirlwind? People went crazy with the AI generated voice assistant and it quickly became viral, even among those who didn’t have an iPhone. Now imagine that technology coming to your cars. More precisely, your windshields. That’s what some of the biggest automobile companies have taken upon themselves to create. With leading manufacturers like Mercedes, Jaguar, Tesla and Toyota investing their resources in immersive AR experiences, it appears that driverless cars with AR windshields will be coming much sooner than any of us had imagined.

Currently, Toyota’s immersive AR experience is coming to US for consumers to see it up close and in person. The best part about this experience is that there’s no need to download any app for this that might put off quite a few people from experiencing it.

Rather, Toyota is using digital media to deliver the augmented reality experience at scale. Anyone can go on their social media and simply tap on a banner ad, and voila: AR experience will be launched.

“This innovative AR technology allows Toyota to engage with guests like never before. It creates a highly engaging online vehicle experience, and highlights Toyota models in a personalized way for each guest.”

~ Cynthia Tenhouse, VP Toyota Motor North America

This is going to be one of the most powerful paths for augmented reality in cars because obstructed visibility has been a common problem so far. With this technology, 2020 GMC Sierra HD’s Transparent Trailer has stitched multiple camera views together, throwing a cloak of invisibility over the back of the trailer when viewed through dashboard display. It even boasts 15 selectable camera views as well as a rear camera mirror that lets you get the best view of what’s around the large pickup you’re driving and its payload.

Another example is that of 2020 Range Rover Evoque that features a bunch of similar technologies. Cameras that make hood invisible that lets you see what’s under the front end of your car. Rearview mirror allowing you to switch between a conventional mirror and a camera-based view of the area behind car. Then there’s Mercedes. Its love for augmented reality navigation is visible with its A Class vehicles that feature smart dashboards with AR, information popping up as you go. Although, the navigation is still on the dashboard, Mercedes intends to move it to windshields to make it more interactive and intuitive.

It’s not just windshields though. Toyota has made a clever decision to create a system that can be accessed on the back car windows too, adding a special appeal for families who want their children to sit tight during long trips. Even adults get bored in such trips and with the possibility of interacting with windows can make the journey more fun and engaging.

With key players of the industry investing their time and resources into creating immersive cars, there’s high possibility that we’ll be looking at sci-fi cars in a few years’ time. Already Tesla has changed the game with its high end driverless cars, it’s not a fool’s errand to hope that AR will be casting its magic on our windshields too. Let’s see what the future brings.