27 Jan
Could augmented reality features soon be commonplace on new vehicles?

Will more vehicle manufacturers put faith in augmented reality tech?

There are some facets of modern motoring that have to be carried out the old fashioned way. After all, it can be all too easy to rely on innovative tech, but it's the simple things that keep even the most advanced cars, vans and trucks going.

For example, the process of filling up at the service station and utilising a fuel card is unlikely to change any time soon, and the simple practices of maintenance such as checking oil levels and tyre pressures is still much the same as it's been for the last few decades.

Several vehicle manufacturers are doing all they can to blend the digital and physical worlds.

However, inside new vehicles at least, many manufacturers are doing all they can to blend the digital and physical worlds.

The rise of augmented reality

Consequently, more vehicle producers are seeking out ways to leverage systems that streamline the driving experience through augmented reality. Perhaps one of the most prominent and successful to date is Jaguar Land Rover.

The British firm unveiled its '360 Virtual Urban Windscreen' earlier in 2015. The concept essentially uses technology to provide an encompassing view of the road, blanking off the negative effect that pillars can have on the view.

Each one has a screen embedded inside it which allows it to appear as see-through. This video outlines how the system – and augmented reality at large – could affect the driving experience of the future:

Impacting safety

The benefits of the system are set to be two-fold. Augmented reality will provide more information to the driver about his or her surroundings, while the most innovative solutions could also cast more than a glancing eye on safety as well.

"Our ultimate aim is to reduce road accidents and enhance the urban driving experience. The Jaguar Land Rover research team is developing this technology to improve visibility and to give the driver with the right information at the right time," explained Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover.

"If we can keep the driver's eyes on the road ahead and present information in a non-distracting way, we can help drivers make better decisions in the most demanding and congested driving environments," Dr Epple concluded.

More information, more of the time

The battle to get a thorough and effective augmented reality system into new vehicles could be set to intensify over the next few years, as more manufacturers attempt to be first to market. To that end, Nissan has joined Jaguar Land Rover in the hunt to provide drivers with more information, more of the time.

First unveiled back at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013, the Japanese marque believes that the future could well be in wearable tech, and its '3E' augmented reality glasses in particular. A brief overview of the concept can be seen here:

Nissan's solution is different in that it is actually aimed at streamlining a separate area of automotive interaction: The buying process. Rather drivers using the 3E out on the roads, the glasses would give potential Nissan owners a new, encompassing way to experience a vehicle before they sign on the dotted line.

A bright future

While many areas of technology have been vastly explored by the automotive industry, augmented reality systems are not very common as things stand. However, going forward, that could well be set to change.

After all, if drivers can have vital information displayed seamlessly to them, from route optimisation to the best place to stop and fill up with a petrol card, the experience behind the wheel of the cars, vans and trucks of tomorrow could be an incredibly encompassing digital one.