Tech of the Week: Navdy’s solutions let you drive, navigate, swipe, and answer your mom’s call without taking eyes off the road
Heads-up displays (HUDs) were once the sole property of military fighter pilots, but in recent years it’s made its way into commercial planes, games, and even pop culture. Like the fictional HUDs – a transparent display allowing the user to view things without looking away from their vantage point – you see in sci-fi and superhero films, Navdy is hoping to become a one-size-fits-all solution for the vehicle HUD space.
Created by San Francisco entrepreneur Doug Simpson and inventor Karl Guttag, the device sets out to provide a more road-centric experience for information-demanding drivers.
Powered by either a car’s On-Board Diagnostic Systems (OBDII) port or the 12-volt cigarette lighter, Navdy allows Bluetooth synching between your phone, the car’s entertainment system, and Navdy itself.
Voice recognition and gesture controls from a third party are integrated with the system so drivers never take their eyes off the road, and the image is projected to “float” out in the road ahead, allowing the driver to view it as if they would a license plate or bumper sticker. While projected on a 5-inch wide transparent screen, the actual image will appear to be 15 inches wide to a driver’s eyes.
Navdy already has US$1 million worth of orders in the early weeks of August
It also has the function to screen what sorts of information you receive while driving, and sound can be hooked up to the car’s entertainment system, earphones, or device-side speakers.
App integration is still being worked on, but basics such as calling, texting, and navigation have already been completed. Twitter, Facebook, and music streaming services will also be available by launch.
While the device isn’t on par with the likes of Iron Man’s suit or the navigation control on Tom Cruises’ car in the last Mission Impossible, it is however a step forward towards a fully integrated augmented reality system.
Currently pre-selling for US$299 (NZ$380), launch is scheduled for early 2015, where the price will go up to US$499. The cost is still a fraction of the total cost of existing on-board options from car manufacturers.