'Apple Car' may use AR for windshield heads-up display

in Future Apple Hardware
The windshield of "Apple Car" may present the driver with an augmented reality view for lane control, hazard avoidance, and otherwise obscured details of the environment.

"Apple Car" windscreen could display a great deal of information directly where the driver is looking

Apple has previously been researching how a heads-up display (HUD) could project information onto the "Apple Car" windshield. Now it's examining just what that information should be, and when exactly to display it.

"Zone identification and indication system," is a newly-granted patent that is concerned initially with speed and lane control, using Apple AR.

"The augmented reality display can include an indicator of the vehicle speed," says the patent. More than just an Apple Maps-style speed icon in a corner of the windscreen, though, this indicator could be "spatially positioned according to the speed of the vehicle relative to the local speed limit."

Currently Siri, in certain countries, will warn as you approach a speed camera and offer slightly different messages depending on whether you are exceeding the limit or not. Where it will say, "please watch your speed" when you are over the local limit, so the HUD could potentially make the speed indicator more prominent.

Where that is meant to make sure you see, and pay attention, to important information, the patent is also concerned with details you cannot see. "The augmented reality display can include display elements which indicate a position of environmental objects which are obscured from direct perception," it continues.

So when a truck is positioned just right to mean you can't see an off-ramp -- or you can't read a road sign -- the HUD could use AR to show them to you anyway.

The majority of the patent is concerned with how to help the driver, but there are elements that cover driverless navigation. "In some embodiments, the [Vehicle Navigation System (VNS)] can autonomously control one or more vehicle control elements... to cause the vehicle to be autonomously navigated along one or more driving routes through the environment," it says.

Detail from the patent showing information relayed from external sensors to what the driver sees
Detail from the patent showing information relayed from external sensors to what the driver sees

Whether for driverless navigation, or to help "display of information to one or more occupants of the vehicle," this VNS requires external sensors "which generate sensor data representations of one or more portions of the external environment."

The car "generates and maintains a world model," or the information required to provide accurately-positioned AR. And it does so "at least in part upon information received from a remote service, system, device, etc. via one or more communication networks."

This patent is credited to three inventors, including Karlin Y. Bark. Previous patents by Bark include one for making AirPods that detect gestures.

Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, "Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider," and you'll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for "AppleInsider Daily" instead and you'll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you're interested in Apple-centric home automation, say "Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider," and you'll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.


  • Reply 1 of 6
    dk49dk49 Posts: 135member
    This feature is already present in a lot of high end cars today, though in a basic form. Though Mercedes' latest electric car has a much better  AR display, much like what is described here. 

    If Apple keeps delaying the car launch, there might not be enough things to truly distinguish it from the competition and stand out.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    rotateleftbyterotateleftbyte Posts: 1,527member
    From reading this article, what Apple describes is not a lot different from what VW has shown on the ID.3/ID.4 EV. I'm a great fan of HUD's. I have one on my I-Pace and it really lowers the number of times per hour that I have to look at the instrument panel.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,526member
    Just want to say I thought about this 8 years ago. I thought it could have a “look around” type overlay with an arrow pointing at your destination. You could turn on places of interests and streets. Of course you should have the option to hide anything.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    plovellplovell Posts: 818member
    Unfortunately heads-up displays don't work with polarized sunglasses. I was disappointed to discover that.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    bohlerbohler Posts: 35member
    in a bmw you get everything…directions, speed limit, speed control, phone numbers, song selection
  • Reply 6 of 6
    Honestly, I'd have been surprised if an Apple Car didn't have some sort of Head Up Display.  The one pictured seems like it would be a little more intrusive, and possibly violate some laws about obstruction of the windshield.

    And it is Head Up, not Heads Up, so called because it allows a pilot to keep his or her head up and still see critical information, rather than looking down at controls and displays in the cockpit/
Sign In or Register to comment.