The future of the automobile industry is about to bring many exciting technological advances. From self-driving vehicles to cars that can monitor the health of the driver, we are about to enter an era where a car is much more than just a car. One of these exciting technologies has been around for a while, but has evolved and undergone beautiful transformations to become the futuristic piece of technology that it is today, the AR-HUD.

Brought to you by the Continental Corporation, AR-HUD stands for Augmented Reality Heads-Up Display. A windshield that is upgraded with this technology will display valuable information about your driving and your surroundings while you drive. This can include showing you your exact speed limit against the speed limit of the stretch of road that you are on. Or it will tell you if you are leaving your lane, on accident and on purpose. Or tell you how far away other cars on the road are from you. Most importantly, it can be a terrific tool for navigation, as it will display directions on your windshield that line up with the way you are supposed to go on the road, so that you don’t have to look down to your GPS and can better focus on driving. Needless to say, it is a highly futuristic view of the way that all vehicles will be in the near future.

The AR-HUD works by putting virtual information onto the windshield, in the driver’s view, in the form of full color graphics. However simple that may sound, the road to getting that information there is a technological marvel. The control unit of the AR-HUD calculates a plethora of information to determine this data. The data is drawn from using a camera and radar information from the vehicle’s sensors to determine the positioning of the road and other objects around you. Meanwhile, it is also calculating digital map data and GPS positioning to map out the surroundings and terrain of where you are driving. All of this information is then broadcast to the driver using a digital micro-mirror device (DMD), which will also project the graphics in such a way that the curve of the windshield will not warp what is being displayed.

The Continental Corporation has said that they want to apply this projection technology with as many car companies as possible, and hopes to bring it into mass production as early as 2016. However, even if your vehicle doesn’t come with the specially equipped windshields to use an AR-HUD, they are also developing a version that will rest on your vehicle’s dashboard, which will also be more affordable. By 2020, expect to see a plethora of vehicles on the road utilizing heads-up display technology.