Pioneer Will Debut AR-enabled Car Navigation System Using HUD

May 9, 2012
Shinya Saeki, Nikkei Electronics
The new car navigation system
The new car navigation system
[Click to enlarge image]
An image projected on the HUD
An image projected on the HUD
[Click to enlarge image]
The HUD is attached in the position of the sun visor.
The HUD is attached in the position of the sun visor.
[Click to enlarge image]

Pioneer Corp announced a car navigation system that is equipped with a head-up display (HUD) and displays augmented-reality (AR) information in front of the driver May 8, 2012.

The car navigation system, "Cyber Navi," comes in two models: "AVIC-VH99HUD" (1D + 1D unit), which is a high-end model, and "AVIC-ZH99HUD" (2D unit). Both of them will be released in late July 2012. Though there are no manufacturer's suggested retail prices, the expected retail prices of the VH99 and ZH99 are ¥320,000 (approx US$4,006) and 300,000, respectively.

Pioneer claims that the Cyber Navi is the world's first AR-enabled car navigation system using an HUD. The company exhibited a prototyped HUD at CEATEC Japan 2011, which took place in October 2011 (See related article).

MEMS mirrors used as driver elements

The HUD displays an 90 x 30cm (about 37-inch) color image about 3m ahead of the driver. Its pixel count, brightness and drive frequency are 720 x 260, up to 12,000cd/m2 and 20-24Hz, respectively, Pioneer said.

The HUD is attached in the position of the sun visor on the side of the driver's seat. It can be installed in about 70% of existing cars, the company said. The names of vehicles that support the HUD are scheduled to be announced on the company's Website in late May 2012. Bluetooth is used for data communication between the HUD and the main body of the car navigation system.

Only the information that is necessary for driving can be displayed on the HUD. The navigation system features four types of driving modes. And a remote control that comes with the system is used to switch driving modes. For safety, Pioneer employed a resin projection screen whose edges do not face the driver's head in case of a car accident.

Pioneer used red, green and blue lasers for the light source and MEMS mirrors as driver elements. An image is displayed by sequentially scanning MEMS mirror. The HUD was developed in collaboration with the US-based MicroVision Inc, Pioneer said.

Improvements made to main body

As in the case of Pioneer's existing car navigation systems, the main body of the Cyber Navi can display an image taken by an automotive camera on the screen of the car navigation system while superimposing information on it.

This time, Pioneer added a new function. When a traffic sign about speed limit is detected ahead of the vehicle, an image of the sign is displayed on the screen of the main body, and the driver is notified of it with a sound alert. Also, the company improved the visibility of navigation information.