Heads up Display, Working and Types.

Heads Up Display, a new way to present crucial information to driver with minimum distraction.

HUD Display Cover


In the world of Virtual Reality Displays and Google Glasses, our automobiles were probably feeling left out. But inventors had their back and our cars got entitled to the same treatment. Gone are the days when you used to miss a turn while on GPS or get distracted from the road while switching on to your favorite radio station. Automobiles are growing smarter and safer, and with the introduction of HUDs, both the qualities have certainly got an addition to their lists.
It might look like a dream technology from a science-fiction Hollywood movie, but it has become a reality now.

What is Heads-up Display?

Check INFOGRAPHICS on HUD for Overview.

Heads-up display is a transparent display projected on the windshield or on a separate transparent screen attached on the dashboard so that the driver doesn’t have to look down on the dashboard every time.

You might not bother reconsidering the purpose of a windshield in your car, but the researchers have. They surely have seen a windshield do more than just protecting a driver from the external debris, and its more than you can possibly think. I mean how would have thought the dull transparent glass in front of you can be turned into a real-time display unit.


Heads-up display (HUD) systems can project information on the windshield, tell you where to turn, notify you of lane markings, identify how close the car in front of you and even give you restaurant information all right in front of your eyes — and while you’re actually able to see those objects or places. It displays all the information you usually see on your dashboard like speed, engine revs, and various types of gauges, etc.
It’s sole purpose is to provide all the crucial information in the field of view of the driver to facilitate reduction in the distractions from driving. The idea is that the driver gets all the information where he is supposed to look while driving.

Types of Heads-up displays:

In-car HUD

The most advanced form of HUDs are the In-car HUD displays. They provide the information on the windshield of the car and no external device is needed. The technology behind is simpler than it looks.
The technology for HUD varies on the system. Some cars use transparent phosphors on the windshield that reacts when a laser shines on it. When the laser is off, you don’t see anything, but when the light is on the information is projected on the glass. Others use a similar system but incorporate mirrors to project the images on the windshield.

Headsup Display working
HeadsUp Display working

A display unit is installed below your dashboard which projects the information on a set of mirrors. A glare trap and a light trap are installed to minimize the distractions due to the glare of the external light sources while seeing the image. The set of mirrors consists of a plane mirror usually called the Fold Mirror and spherical mirror. The spherical mirror is rotatable is servers the purpose of magnifying the image to an extent to which it of the right size for the driver to see it properly.HUD NIGHT The spherical mirror then reflects the image on the optical component of the windshield. But there’s a catch, the image projected on the windshield is not the final image that a driver sees. What the driver actually sees is the virtual image of the display screen in front of the windshield at a distance called the projection distance. The projection distance is set to make the image visibly parallel in the field of view of the driver and can be changed by changing the positions of the mirror.
Who could have imagined that this dream technology would work on simple basic optical principles.

  1. On-board HUD

While only some of the high-end cars are privileged with an in-car HUD system, the regular car owners don’t need to worry. Technology has always had your back. On-board HUD is a device which can be mounted on the top of the dashboard and projects information on its integrated transparent display. The working principle is basically the same. Just a minor difference that instead of displaying the image on the windshield, projects the image on its own transparent screen. Most on-board HUDs work by linking to either your phone’s internal GPS or finding a signal of their own from a satellite to find out how fast your car is going at any given time, and display the information back on the windshield. For now, HUDs made by individual companies for aftermarket use are only capable of displaying a rudimentary speedometer, often in mono-chromatic colours which aren’t all too pleasing for the eye to be staring at for hours on end.HUD_GARMIN

You can get an on-board unit installed in your car in about $100 – $200.
For more information on on-board HUD displays, follow the link “Top 5 HUD displays for cars”.

HUD Apps:

If you don’t own a car with in-car HUD system, or can’t afford to have an external on-board HUD installed, technology has your back too. HUD apps are available through which you can see a projected image of the driving details on your windshield.
The app tracks your driving details through GPS and displays a mirror image of it on the screen. The phone then if mounted on the top of the dashboard, projects the image on the windshield which then reflects it and a HUD type effect is observed.
Though it is not recommended to use this app information as a primary source of information as GPS tracking can be spotty and can have a huge possibility of error.

Most of us are accustomed to having information at our fingertips all day long, so it makes sense to bring that same idea into our cars in more ways than just for music or entertainment. If HUD systems continue to develop at the rate they are right now, it won’t be long before we’re able to reduce accidents, assist drivers with vision impairments and see our surroundings a little clearer.

The recent trends show integration of Augmented Reality into HUD’s, Telematics and ADAS have already been now a part of HUD integration.

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