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A halo around an oncoming car and other graphic overlays are shown on the AR HUD in Visteon's VW Golf demo vehicle, which also has an exterior forward-facing camera and two driver-facing cameras.

Visteon tests augmented reality HUD for Level 4 autonomy

Augmented reality (AR) head-up displays are emerging as critical equipment for SAE Level 4 autonomous driving, where the operator must completely trust that the vehicle's ADAS sensors and cameras are monitoring and accurately recognizing its surroundings.

Automotive Engineering recently experienced a proof-of-concept demonstrator vehicle fitted with Visteon's latest AR HUD system, at the supplier's Van Buren Twp., MI, headquarters. On the 2015 VW Golf R's windshield, graphics are superimposed over the driver’s real-time sight line to indicate objects detected near the vehicle’s path. The system also displays relevant driver information, such as lane departure warning, and navigation guidance.

With a 10 x 4-degree field image, the windshield AR HUD is nearly twice the size of those used on current production vehicles, company engineers claimed. Images are projected 33 ft (10 m) from the driver’s eyes in comparison to the typical 6.5 ft (2 m) distance.

The system was designed to display sensor information "in a relevant and comprehensive manner in the driver’s field of view,” noted Patrick Nebout, Director of Advanced Technologies. He noted that the demo vehicle was developed by engineers at Visteon’s technical center in Cergy, France.

Driver-facing interior cameras, located in the A-pillar and the rearview mirror, monitor the operator. They trigger audible and visual alerts to rouse a distracted driver, explained Mike Eichbrecht, a member of Visteon’s North American technical sales group. “For instance, if you’re looking down at your cell phone, an audible tone and LEDs lets you know that something in the car’s vicinity, such as a bicyclist beside the road, needs your full attention,” he said.

Nebout believes that an AR HUD will be the fastest, easiest and most effective interface for informing the driver of what the vehicle's sensor array has detected (i.e., moving objects, stationary obstacles, the road lane) as well as the optimum path to follow.

Over the next two years, Visteon's AR HUD vehicle demonstrator will gain capabilities. Improved optics will allow significant increases in the field of view and the size of the image, expanding the scope of driving-environment information, Nebout said.

“Visteon is also developing artificial intelligence technologies," he added, "that will allow more natural and efficient HMI and will optimize the image positioning in accordance with the dynamics of the vehicle.”

AR HUD systems also have been in development at Visteon competitor Continental AG since 2014.

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