Automobile News, Opinion

Continental’s Head-up display technologies is a boon for drivers

During driving, in order to read information available on the dashboard the driver takes it eyes off the road. In situations of rush hour traffic, this causes an anxiety, overload and finally he compromises for safety. Thus all the information should be available in the line of sight of the driver. This method of display is known as “Head-up display“(HUD).


Head-up display comfort


In windshield head up display, a floating image over the hood is seen. HUD helps avoiding driver distraction and makes driving safe.  Drivers get the necessary information like indicator signals, speed without looking on the dashboard display. The driver feels in control of the vehicle and can respond to critical situations faster. Few examples like speed limit can be displayed on HUD and the driver can be warned for crossing it, adaptive cruise control will allow the driver to see on HUD, the distance from the car ahead and in case of violation warning can be shown on HUD. Also the display can be customized in terms of brightness, contrast, configuration of required information and thus provides flexibility to the driver. Navigation can be coupled with HUD and will provide a convenient way of following the directions. All these information on HUD results in a safe driving environment. HUD’s are available in Audi A6/A7 series, BMW 3 series and Mercedes Benz C-class and are manufactured in a precise environment in Germany.

Head-up display



Continental has come up with a prototype of its evolutionary Head-up Display technology named “Augmented reality head-up display”. The motto of this technology is: Seeing is Understanding ie. whatever the driver sees from the display can be directly converted into functionality. The Augmented Head-up vehicles will be seen in vehicles from 2017.It is much more advanced and driver friendly when compared to the windshield HUD. In this, all the information  are displayed in such a way that it makes itself a part of driving. During driving, the information gets reflected on the exterior traffic view. For example when Adaptive cruise control(ACC) is active, the vehicle detected for safer distance can be detected on HUD. Thus all of the information is self- explanatory and makes the driver much more comfortable, relaxed and even tackling critical situations in a better manner. Initially HUD was made for better human ergonomics and now with this technology it has come to a new level of human interaction.

The technology involves insertions of color graphics on to the real road view at 130 cm and 60 cm high section of the driver’s vision. It is due to the use of digital micro-mirror device technology ( which is also found in a digital movie projector ). In the continental demo vehicle three major things were considered. First, the AR-HUD helps the driver to come out of danger in case of getting out of lanes. It supports Adaptive cruise control (ACC) and a crescent shape marking is observed on the road view over the detected vehicle for safe distance. The navigation information helps driver to know which turn needs to be taken without looking for the real world. All the mentioned methods develop trust in the driver for its vehicle and goes to a new level of human interaction with the vehicle.


It is not at all easy to show all the required information on the road view display. It requires knowledge in various automotive domains. After all data collection from vehicle dynamics, camera images and sensors, the control unit models the real road view display for the driver, thus it basically shows the complexity of the system and would be of great help in modelling of such systems for driver less cars.


combiner hud

It refers to a HUD system similar to windshield HUD but requires less space for installation. It has a small disc shaped device called the combiner which is used as a mirror for displaying the information. This is advantageous for sport vehicles where the cockpit is smaller. The distance of display from the driver is slightly shorter and is around 1.5 m-2 m and thus the driver needs to adjust himself for better view. The optical path can be passed through the combiner itself by changing its optical properties.


The need for all these technologies is because of the safety issues during driving due to the driver distractions while checking the dashboard displays. HUD has the potential of reducing the accidents caused due to driver distractions. The role of sensors and other units involved in the system needs to be precise  and accurate in order to give proper informative data . Since the driver understands things based on what he sees. More research in this field, might also come up with cost effective systems and thus making them available for every range of vehicles.

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This is Gopal Singh Rathore. I have done my B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from VIT University, Vellore. I am an auto enthusiast and remain curious to learn about automobiles. I have participated in BAJA SAE INDIA in 2012 and 2013 where I was involved in a team from my college for making an off-road vehicle. I was in the suspension department of the team. I love writing about automobiles and is always curious to learn about them at anytime.