Panasonic’s new HUD tech turns your windshield into a video game

This looks great.


This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

I love a good head-up display, but today’s HUDs have their shortcomings. You’d think with the latest technology, companies would already have something to add even more information to a windshield. Lots do, but Panasonic’s seems mighty realistic and nearly ready for prime time.

The company revealed its latest HUD system complete with artificial intelligence and augmented reality tech at a virtual CES 2021¬†event. It aims to go beyond a standard HUD, which often simply displays speed and a couple other nuggets of information. Panasonic’s idea is to essentially turn a windshield into a video game user interface. I like that.

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The sample photo shows the technology at work with a guidance route for navigation, detection for a cyclist, speed, a measurement for an underpass and the street’s speed limit. Yes, some of these basic things are available with today’s HUDs, but the way it’s all integrated is pleasing. The less time looking at other screens in a car the better; HUDs keep your eyes forward and on the road.

Panasonic said the company used its latest technology, from advances in optics, volume optimization and imaging technology, to create the comprehensive system. AI systems also work to detect cyclists or pedestrians, for example, and clearly mark them for drivers. Everything updates constantly at 300 milliseconds per refresh and eye tracking ensures information displays at the driver’s eye level without fuss. The firm also said the system is compact so it will fit any vehicle package, should automakers want to include the system with their vehicles. I hope they do.

Like all of the company’s latest tech shown at CES this year, it’s not for individual sale. Instead, you may find this HUD, and its nifty wireless phone charger with a moving coil, in a car coming to you very soon.

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Sean Szymkowski