Garmin is introducing an after-market heads-up display, or HUD, accessory that could project your next turn-by-turn direction onto your windshield. The aim of the accessory is so that users who use GPS navigation systems, particularly those manufactured or with software from Garmin or its Navigon subsidiary, could be more focused on driving and less distracted by not having to look away from the road to glance at the GPS display.
As it stands, a windshield-mounted, vent-mounted, or dash-mounted GPS or smartphone system could be dangerous, although an invaluable driving tool. Users would have to take their eyes off of the road–even for a split-second–to glance at the smartphone or GPS screen to see their next turn direction. With an HUD system projecting that turn information onto your windshield, users would be able to keep their eyes on the road.
Complementing the visual display, spoken turn-by-turn directions are provided simultaneously by a compatible Garmin or Navigon app, either through the smartphone speaker or a Bluetooth-connected car stereo. Music streamed to the car stereo from the smartphone will automatically fade out for turn-by-turn voice prompts. HUD also continues to display navigation information while taking incoming calls.
The technology isn’t new, and various car manufacturers have offered this feature as a standard or option on select makes. General Motor’s luxury Cadillac brand has this feature, and it’s a nice way to reduce distracted driving on the road.
The best part about the Garmin accessory is that it costs only $130 and pairs over Bluetooth with a smartphone running the Garmin or Navigon app. That means users on a variety of platform–iOS, Android, and Windows Phone–could take advantage of Garmin’s HUD to drive more safely and reach their destination with fewer distractions.
“HUD redefines the navigation experience by allowing drivers to find their way without taking their eyes off the road,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “Head-up displays currently have their place in select high-end cars, but HUD makes this technology available as an aftermarket accessory for any vehicle, at an affordable price.”
The accessory, destined to hit store shelves this summer, comes in two pieces. The first piece is a small film that’s affixed to your windshield and the second piece is the hardware that secures to your dash to project onto the film.