Published on April 10th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW MINI forays into augmented reality with MINI Augmented Vision
Augmented reality is not a new concept, but in terms of actual practical use it’s having trouble taking off. Part of it is down to a lack of infrastructure and the difficulty in developing a proper interface that caters to a wide range of users. On a more superifical note, the aesthetics of existing augmented reality devices leave a lot to be desired.
But perhaps augmented reality may be coming sooner than you think. MINI is revealing the shape of things to come at the Auto Shanghai show with a pioneering innovation. In partnership with Qualcomm companies, MINI has developed an interlinked system that works in tandem with augmented reality eyewear. And in traditional MINI fashion, it’s designed to look sleek and stylish, and right at home in a MINI owner’s life.
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.
The following functions will be projected into the field of view with MINI Augmented Vision:
- 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.
It’s certainly an interesting look at what could be. Naturally it will probably be quite a pricey proposition being a MINI product and all, and the lack of universal interface may make it difficult to emulate and use beyond the scope of MINI vehicles, but ultimately if it functions as a proof of concept we may see other companies following suit.