Garmin, the well-known sat nav manufacturer, has developed a new smartphone app that works with a portable projector in order to project driving directions onto the windscreen of your car.
The Garmin smartphone app comes with the usual voice prompts you’d expect from a sat nav system. These can be sent through the smartphone speakers or linked to a car stereo via Bluetooth. The projector automatically adjusts the brightness levels of the windscreen display depending on whether it’s light or dark outside.
As a concept, projection onto the windscreen is not new. In theory, projections could cut down on driver distraction because the driver will spend less time looking away from the road and more time looking directly ahead. But the tech has only really been shown in fixed installations. Garmin has come up with something that any smartphone user can adopt.
There are various advantages to the smartphone approach. Firstly, a separate device is far easier to upgrade than an in-car system. And because the ‘brains’ behind the projection is handled by an app, Garmin can continually update the system without the user having to manually trigger an update.
Garmin also says that, in the long run, projection devices may become an important part of everyday driving. As more driving automation is introduced, drivers will need systems with the ability to quickly notify them if they need to take the wheel.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this new smartphone gadget is its speedy availability. The sat nav app is called Navigon or Streetpilot (depending on the operating system) and is available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 already. The projector is expected to be available to buy in the UK later in the summer. The system is expected to cost around £85 for the projector and £20 for regional maps to go with the app.