The first fleet of self-driving cars may be ready by 2020. Google has said that its car should be ready by 2020 and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, says their Tesla’s will be fully autonomous by 2018. It appears that these driverless cars are still in the data gathering stage. Since increased safety is one of the top goals for these future cars, it is important for them to harvest great amounts of data in order for them to respond in the moment and react to potentially dangerous situations. One of the biggest worries of driverless car technology is that they may not be safe enough to utilize so a lot more data still needs to be gathered to help relieve this concern. Tesla’s Model S already features some self-driving capabilities known as “Autopilot” and it uses data and driving habits from many Tesla drivers in order to keep improving. Google’s self-driving cars have been driving around and collecting data since 2009 so its software already knows how to react to various real-life scenarios. As driverless cars are still gathering data, we may need another type of car technology to breakthrough before we go fully autonomous. In a sense, GPS technology could also be looked at as a tool that has been priming consumers for driverless cars for a long time. Cars that feature augmented reality may be able to further prime consumers into buying driverless cars. PSA Peugeot Citroen, a French multinational manufacture of automobiles, is working on one of the first cars that will finally implement built-in augmented reality in the cockpit. This technology aims to increase driver safety for a more convenient driving experience. If augmented reality cars become more popular, they have great potential to make the transition to driverless cars smoother. PSA Peugeot Citroen’s work-in-progress automobile features a built-in transparent display, projected onto the windscreen that allows the driver to view data and information without looking away from the road. The HUD is also able to adapt in real-time to objects on the road. The display will feature the usual driving information such as current speed, speed limits (implied from road signs) but it could also introduce new functions. Since the HUD is capable of covering the entire width of the windshield, it could, for instance, clearly give the driver directions or show dangers with a prominent graphic warning. The most important benefit for augmented reality driving is to increase safety. Since the useful driving information could be seen extremely quickly, drivers are sure to have a better awareness of the road and they are more likely to not be taken by surprise. Moreover, their response times may be much faster since they will be keeping their eyes on the road. For instance, they will be able to look up directions while focusing their eyes on the road instead of looking down at their phones or GPS. Since we may have to wait up to 5-10 years before we see autonomous care take over the roads, the process of driving automation will have to be gradual. PSA Peugeot Citroen will be an integral member of the car industry to make sure that the jump will not be so sudden since it will be retaining manual/human functionality. The driving information that will be displayed on the windscreen may help educate the consumer and give them a better understanding of how driving aids and autonomous cars will work. There is not any word yet on the release date of PSA Peugeot Citroen’s augmented reality vehicle but it is likely to release before 2020.
The next wave of automobile technology is aiming to revolutionize the way we utilize transportation. The first fleet of self-driving cars will be ready in just a few years. Based on popularity, the forerunners of self-driving car technology right now are Google and Tesla. Google Inc. says that their self-driving car should be ready by 2020 and Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, says their Tesla’s will be fully autonomous by 2018. Though autonomous cars will be coming soon, we could see other types of cars that will innovate automobile transportation even sooner. PSA Peugeot Citroen, a French multinational manufacturer of automobiles plans to change the way we drive by building an augmented reality enabled windshield for their cars. This technology aims to increase driver safety for a more convenient driving experience. If augmented reality windshields become more popular they have great potential to make the transition to driverless cars much smoother. Contemporary aircraft heads-up-displays (HUD) are a type of technology we’ve seen for many years that assist pilots while they are flying. Future cars might also provide a HUD containing useful driving information. This new HUD could include augmented reality. PSA Peugeot Citroen’s work-in-progress automobile windshield features a built-in transparent display, and a projection on the inside that allows the driver to view data, visuals, and information without looking away from the road. This HUD is also able to adapt and update in reaction to real objects or dangers on the road. Below is an early demo of the PSA Peugeot windshield HUD in action: The Peugeot HUD will feature standard driving information such as current speed, speed limits, and adaptive visuals for cruise control. There is massive potential for the HUD to introduce innovative functions that can implement more enhanced augmented reality. Since the HUD is capable of covering the entire width of the windshield, it could be able to give the driver a wider view of on-the-road directions and traffic updates, alter sights on the road, and show dangers with a graphic warning. Too much visuals on the windshield has a possibility of being more distracting than helpful so it will be interesting to see how Peugeot’s software designers will handle this impending issue as they add more features. The most important benefit from augmented reality driving is increased safety. Since unique driving information could be seen extremely quickly, drivers could have a better awareness of the road and they are more likely to not be caught by surprise. Drivers may also be able to look up directions while focusing their eyes on the road instead of looking down at their phones or GPS. The two autonomous car forerunners, Google and Tesla, should be rooting for car company’s like PSA Peugeot Citroen as they are aiming to change the driving experience of the modern car. There is not any word yet on when PSA Peugeot Citroen’s augmented reality windshield will be integrated with their cars but they are likely to release before 2020. -Amanze Ugoh