BMW unveils augmented reality glasses for MINI
The MINI is set to get augmented-reality connectivity.
At the Shanghai Auto show, BMW has revealed a prototype version of its planned “MINI Augmented Vision” glasses.
Heads up displays can already give drivers augmented information, but if this prototype makes its way into production the Augmented Vision glasses will take the technology to a new level.
A big advantage of wearable glasses compared to a traditional heads-up display is that appropriate information can be delivered based on where the driver is looking.
For example, if you are reversing, the glasses could superimpose the view of an external camera so that you can “see through” blind spots. Or when you are parking and looking kerbside, a view of the wheels next to the kerb can be provided so you can get as close as you want to the kerb without hitting it.
BMW, who are developing the system, are ever mindful of the safety implications of new technology. They are developing the glasses so that any augmented information will be delivered in such a way as to not obscure important real objects. They plan to keep the extra data fairly simple with information such as speed zones and navigation cues shown with small simple graphics.
The glasses will provide in-car and out-of-car connectivity. Examples given include that of reading an event poster where an address is given. The glasses record the address for you and then plan a route to the destination once back in the car. Or when making your way to a planned destination, if you have to park a distance away, the glasses continue providing navigation once you are out of the car and on foot.
The plan is to have the glasses interactive with the driver, the car and the driver’s mobile device so the scope of augmentation is quite large.
Taking a lesson from the public backlash against Google Glass, MINI make a point that while there are inertial sensors and cameras in the glasses, “These are used for determining position of (the) glasses in the vehicle and are not intended in any way for producing and storing videos or photographs….”
If BMW and MINI can bring these Augmented Vision glasses to the mass of MINI drivers with enough compelling functions it will be a significant step forward in the progress of augmented vision.