My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Navdy HUD Projector – Heads Up Display for Apps with Voice and Gesture Commands to control your Car while Driving

Friday, August 8, 2014

Navdy HUD Projector – Heads Up Display for Apps with Voice and Gesture Commands to control your Car while Driving

With September only a few weeks away and the Apple iPhone 6 confirmed to launch on Tuesday September 9th 2014 as reported in “Apple to Introduce New iPhones at Sept. 9 Event”, published Aug 5, 2014 By DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI and RYAN KNUTSON, Wall Street Journal, the news about products and accessories relates to smartphones is coming out thick and fast.

One such is the US$499 Navdy, a HUD (Heads Up Display) unit that is magnetically mounted in front of the driver dashboard as described in “Navdy projects apps and nav on your windshield”, published August 5, 2014 9:00 AM PDT by Wayne Cunningham, CNET News and “Navdy HUD 'Like Driving in The Future'”, published AUGUST 5, 2014 01:55PM EST BY STEPHANIE MLOT, PC Magazine.

This is by no means a new idea. Many cars have HUD built in; the idea being that the driver can constantly be informed of what’s going on in the car without having to take their eyes off the road. After all, the aim is to help you stay on top of it all, without causing you to lose control of your vehicle due to distracted driving.

Navdy HUD Projector – Apps that float on your windscreen will not distract you

Developed by Chief technology officer Karl Guttag utilized his years of experience in miniaturized HUD displays to develope the Navdy.  The device is basically a mini CPU running on Google Android that's magnetically mounted with a cable running to the OBD-II and a projection unit.

It's able to stay in place thanks to its magnetic mount that holds the unit right in your line of sight. The display is clear and crisp and bright and is projected in such a manner that it appears to be literally floating in front of you on the pavement so that you don't get distracted. 

The Navdy has some very interesting features typical of other In-Car Navigation manufacturers such as Garmin, who also have a HUD Nav unit. Where this differs from is the Garmin is how you interact with the unit. The Navdy integrates your Apple iPhone or Google Android smartphone via its pre-loaded app, thereby allowing it to offer the regular Turn-by-turn Navigation powered by the phone.

Because it integrates with the phones Navigation and built in Entertainment System, such as Apple's CarPlay as described in my blog article entitled “Apple to launch CarPlay at Geneva Auto Show in Geneva, Switzerland - Siri Voice Assistant and Primesense bring Hands-free Remote Control Revolution to The Grand Budapest Hotel”, you not only make and receive phone calls, hands free, but you can also check and change what music is playing via CarPlay projected through the Navdy.

Navdy HUD Projector – Voice and Gesture Commands to control your Car while Driving

This hands-free interactivity is done via a combination of hand gestures and Voice Commands, albeit it's most likely Voice Commands, since taking your hands off the wheel to swipe and tell the Navdy to take a call isn't really safe. The Voice Commands allow you to make and receive calls, access navigation, change music and other functionality that Apple CarPlay or any other In-Car Entertainment System would allow you to do.

With access to the OBD-II port that’s currently in most connected cars, Developers who’ll develop Apps for the Navdy can also develop apps that add Engine Performance capabilities to the Navdy, though these will be subject to approval by the company. With so little competition in this field of HUD Display that synch with smartphones, they can easily beat even BMW at their own game. 

Their other competition is Garmin which features a Monochrome display. Finally, their main moot point is price. At US$299 on 30 day pre-order, they're currently in a ramp up stage seeking funding to crank out some 60,000 units.

Once they achieve critical mass, units will be resold at about S$499. Not bad for a Christmas gift that give you a heads-up on the road and may save you from distracted driving and thus being involved in a car crash!

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