MINI is revealing the shape of things to come at the Shanghai Auto Show with a pioneering innovation called MINI Augmented Vision. In short, they’re a pair of goggles that augment your vision in the car. The goggles can project GPS navigation prompts, heads-up display speed limit warnings, destination and parking info, and notifications when you’ve received a text message (which the car’s built-in voice can read to you).
Ain’t that some futuristic sci-fi stuff?!
While you might look ridiculous wearing them, imagine not having to crane your neck, adjust your mirrors, or rely on blind faith that your passenger-side door isn’t hiding some unseen obstacle when you park. Using see-through technology, the AR eyewear shows relevant information in the driver’s direct field of vision but without concealing other road users, thereby serving to increase safety and comfort while driving.
- Destination entry for navigation and transfer to vehicle: Selecting destination points when outside the vehicle, then transferring them to the vehicle.
- First Mile / Last Mile: Navigation display from the current location to the vehicle or from the vehicle to the final destination.
- Head-up display functions: Display of speed, speed limits etc. in the eyewear so the information is in the driver’s primary field of view, with data always shown in same place above steering wheel to make sure that no road users are concealed from sight.
- Contact-analogue navigation and points of interest: Reality is enhanced by contact-analogue navigation arrows “on” the road, as well as display of points of interest along the route, such as open parking spaces. The driver´s attention can always stay focused on the traffic.
- Messaging: A small icon is shown in the eyewear when a message is received. The SMS/message can then be read out by the car while driving for safety.
- X-Ray View / transparent vehicle parts: A virtual view through parts of the vehicle (such as A-pillars and doors) serves to render external areas or objects concealed by the car visible.
- Augmented Parking: This facilitates parking by projecting the images from a camera housed in the (farside) mirror into the eyewear. In this way, the distance from the curb can be clearly and easily ascertained.
I’ve got to admit, having some Iron Man-style visual notifications that make for a safer driving experience sounds like a win-win to me, and I’ll be curious to see if this concept ever makes it to fruition.
Would you don a pair of MINI Augmented Vision goggles if they were available?