Direction Projection Is A Beacon In The Night

Navigating with your phone can be a hassle: the phone displays a tiny map that you’re never supposed to look at while driving, but of course you do. [Mikeasaurus] has the ultimate solution: Direction Projection! Mike has created an augmented reality system with no glass heads-up display, and no goggles ala Microsoft Hololens. The road ahead is his canvas. A standard projector mounted atop his car displays maps and turn indicators, all from his phone. Linking the phone and projection system would normally involve HDMI or analog video cables strung through the roof. [Mikeasaurus] simplifies that by using a Chromecast, which allows him to stream his phone’s screen over WiFi.

rooftop2The projector itself is the HD25-LV, a 3500 Lumen model from Optima. the HD25-LV is capable of 1080p, though in this situation, brightness is much more important than resolution. [Mikeasaurus] mounted the projector along with a gel cell battery and 900 watt DC to AC  inverter to power it. A mobile WiFi hotspot fills out the rooftop kit. Leaving an expensive setup like that on top of a car is a recipe for disaster – be it from rain, rocks, or theft. [Mikeasaurus] thought ahead and strapped his setup down inside a roof mounted cargo box. A plastic covered hole in the front of the box allows the projector to shoot down on the road while protecting its lens. We’d want to add a vent and fan to ensure that projector gets a bit of airflow as well.

On the road, the system actually works. Understandably, it’s not going to work very well during the day, but at night the system really shines! Just don’t tailgate – you wouldn’t want the driver in front of you to know exactly where you’re going, would you?

35 thoughts on “Direction Projection Is A Beacon In The Night

  1. It’s a fun project but I can’t imagine it being road legal. It would be a distraction for other drivers.

    Just installed a commercial heads up display unit. They create a similar effect with the projection appearing “beyond” the windscreen rather than ON the windscreen.

  2. Nice idea, but like some before me im also seeing legal issues, let alone what happens to your “canvas” if theres a shiny car standing ontop of it, apart from possibly blinding the driver, you could blind yourself, and then finally, projecting on a reflective surface never really works well, so im assuming projecting a direction on a car would be worlds apart from projecting it on the road ahead.

  3. This reminds me of a concept BMW is working on. The idea is as well to assist the driver by using projections from the headlights…

    […]The demonstration video showed how the lighting pattern dynamically illuminates a turn in the road. Taking this concept further, a camera in the car can identify potential hazards on the road ahead, such as deer or pedestrians. The headlights then can throw a spotlight on that specific area, alerting the driver to the hazard. BMW currently has this technology available in Germany, but Department of Transportation rules will need to change in order to make this type of headlight legal in the US.[…]

  4. It’s an interesting idea—for night anyway—until another driver takes those projected arrows as painted on the street and drives into you. Then you’ll likely to find yourself talking to a not very friendly cop.

    Two ideas just came to me:

    1. GPS-driven traffic advisories, particularly for night or in bad weather. GPS could be used to give drivers warning of approaching dangers including intersections, tight curves, or bridges that ice over. The warnings could be either on a HUD or via voice. That’d actually make a great app, particularly for people who drive for long periods at night such as truckers. It’d be a great added feature to existing driving apps. Often, we know the route, we just don’t know it well enough to know the dangerous spots.

    2. GPS-driven smart headlights. They’d project a beam to the left or right as a driver enters a turn. And when there’s a long straightaway ahead, they’d turn on super-high beams. Of course, the system would need to be smart enough not to blind on-coming cars.

    1. For your second idea, how about an IR-based LIDAR that scans the lanes ahead. It can check for closing speed to see if it should dim the lights of make it brighter.

  5. Aside from the legal issues of active projection…. augmented reality through HUDs is being worked on by a lot of companies (including mine). But it involves a lot more dynamic elements than appear at first glance. But there is a bigger morel issue involved:

    Smart phones make us dumber. I’m not sure the world needs more dumb drivers due to smart cars.

      1. To me, all these things won’t make you a better driver. They only increase the load of things a driver has to monitor. To me, everything should be made as super-simple as possible, and even though I love driving I think the time of the fully automated car is upon us and it’s a good thing, in spite of my nostalgia for simpler times.

  6. There’s an interesting idea buried in this – something alluded to by the post about BMWs efforts and some of the others. Differential projection of light (not necessarily images) that can be tailored to specific conditions. If you’ve ever driven on fog lights alone to avoid glare in a snowstorm, you have the idea. At a guess, one could tailor light projection color/pattern etc. from “headlamps” to be advantageous for a variety of conditions (snow, fog, raid, distance/city) in ways that fixed or moving-fixed-lens lights can’t do.

  7. So it doesn’t work in the daytime, or at night when it rains, or at night when it snows, or at night when it’s foggy – yeah, this is a boon that all drivers must get.

    Just put 5 OLED icon blobs on the dash behind the steering wheel (left, right, front, back, stop) – works 24/7 in all types of weather.

  8. This is being developed by several tier 1 automotive suppliers. Shine a Pico laser projector onto phosphor and project high rez images. Idea is to darken light for oncoming traffic while still using your bright. Shine an arrow for poor man directions.
    Get ready world.

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