Electric cars: This is how Volkswagen’s head-up display works with augmented reality


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An augmented reality head-up display – AR HUD for short – is intended to reduce distractions when navigating in unknown areas. Systems have been around for a long time that display status information such as the current speed or traffic signs at a fixed position in the windshield – usually right above the steering wheel. The manufacturers now use the free area above for AR projection in order to overlay the real traffic situation in front of the vehicle with situational information.

Directional information from the navigation system floats in the form of symbols on the road. After the last turn, you reach your destination by approaching a clearly visible checkered flag – it is also only virtually on the road. The front passenger does not notice any of this, as the reflection on the windshield is limited to the driver’s field of vision. Audi installed such an AR HUD in its fully electric Q4 E-Tron, in which we were able to experience it in practice during two test drives through Hamburg and along the Baltic Sea coast.

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“In 100 meters turn right into Schimmelmannstrasse,” says the friendly voice of the navigation system in the Audi Q4 E-Tron. With other systems you would have had problems: When did you drive 100 meters, is it this or the next cross street? In this case, however, a blue arrow appears to be floating in the distance on the road. He points to the right. The closer you get to the cross street, the bigger the arrow becomes. Audi calls it a “drone” because it changes its position as if in flight.

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