My first experience yesterday driving with a HUD (Head Up Display) on the windshield. There’s a recessed screen on the dashboard that projects the image below the driver’s line of sight.
Here’s what it looks like from the driver’s perspective. As you can see, it’s consistently below the line of sight, and I got the distinct feeling that it was predicated on effective peripheral awareness.
HUD has been around for a few years, but controversy persists in terms of how much distraction it can potentially cause. The National Safety Council has issued guidelines on distracted driving, but they are mostly linked to cell phone use. In the journal Optometry, Maples and colleagues pointed out the influence of cell phone use on impairing peripheral vision/awareness. Like anything else, driving with HUD takes a lithe getting used to. But already, within a day, I find myself very comfortable with the technology. The next great phase for HUD will be augmented reality.
I suspect that one day most drivers will become very comfortable with the concept, including augmented reality, and find that they are actually more vigilant when driving rather than than distracted by the projection. I say most drivers, but not all.