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GUI Displays Transportation Technology

GM Working On Interactive Windshields 307

this_boat_is_real writes "Rather than project info onto a portion of the windshield, GM's latest experiment uses the entire windshield as a display. Small ultraviolet lasers project data gleaned from sensors and cameras onto the glass. General Motors geeks are working alongside researchers from several universities to develop a system that integrates night vision, navigation and on-board cameras to improve our ability to see — and avoid — problems, particularly in adverse conditions like fog."
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GM Working On Interactive Windshields

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  • Reward vs risk? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @08:45AM (#31521396)

    Given GM's historical failures, and their new immunity from market forces (thank you taxpayers), it's not the place best suited to develop this kind of tech, if indeed this tech is necessary. What's wrong with driving more slowly in the fog? Why do I need HUD, or worse, banner ads, on my windshield? If Toyota, once the paragon of automotive quality, can bork up the drive-by-wire system, it doesn't bode well for GM. I don't want my windshield blue-screening on me.

  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:00AM (#31521538) Homepage Journal

    I live west of my place of employment, and the recent time change has given me it's yearly double-whammy. When you live west of where you work, it means that you're driving east in the morning to get there, and west in the evening to get home. Depending on start and stop times, it means that the sun can be right on the horizon, blinding you at both times. This happens for a few weeks each spring and fall, until the sun rises earlier and sets later, so that the visor can adequately and easily block it. Then time change comes, knocking the sun back down to the horizon.

    I want an "active windshield" that knows where my eyeballs are, knows where the sun is, and blackens just the right spot (with a little margin, of course) to shade my eyes. Compared to that, any heads-up displays are secondary.

  • Re:Reward vs risk? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <<megazzt> <at> <>> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:02AM (#31521550) Homepage

    What's wrong with driving more slowly in the fog?

    The people who don't, for one thing. This system can help you avoid them, or help them avoid you.

    Why do I need HUD, or worse, banner ads, on my windshield?

    I don't think you'll see ads on your windshield. Too distracting, there would be lawsuits and finger pointing every time such a car was involved in an accident.

    I don't want my windshield blue-screening on me.

    I'm sure they would test to make sure the system can't obscure your vision of the road. Worst case scenario is it has a problem and turns itself off (that would be a sane course of action), and you're no worse off than you are today without such a system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:03AM (#31521564)

    Great, so instead of a new windshield costing $100-$200, you'd have to pay $2000 to get one from a dealer.

    Yes, I live in Utah where the endless road construction has cracked two of my windshields in the last year so this is a concern for me.

  • How about first... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:04AM (#31521574)

    Making "decent", efficiant, cars before working on further power drains.... I would love a car with a better alloy of steel, or even perhaps frames of aluminium bronze, with lightweight plastic coverings.... Immune to rusting out after five years.... And maybe a decent engine. Or go the path of Honda.... Build an electric car as you want it: the best motors, interior, etc, but instead of a ton of batteries, use a fuel cell to hold the energy in the form of quick to refuel hydrogen.... If a battery can ever be made that fits and fuels, cool, but until then you can get the kinks out everywhere else until that advancement has been made....
      I say, make fewer, better cars.... Cranking out miles of unsellable crap doesn't help in the long run...

  • by FlyingBishop ( 1293238 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:27AM (#31521818)

    Actually that's a pretty easy problem to solve, given that there's never more than one driver. A headband would be an obvious solution, but there are at least 5 that would work fine.

  • Risk Compensation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SilentResistance ( 960115 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:28AM (#31521842)
    Allow people to better see in fog and they will drive faster.
  • by happylight ( 600739 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:33AM (#31521892)
    That doesn't sound very hard. You can figure out where the driver's eyes are by the orientation of the rare view and side view mirrors. On that note, since you're supposed to adjust those mirrors before you start driving, it's just one more thing to adjust before you drive off.
  • Re:Reward vs risk? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by icebrain ( 944107 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:40AM (#31521978)

    There's a reason more and more new production aircraft are coming out with HUD and EVS systems. Better visibility and having data in the field of view beats not having it every day of the week. The same can be applied to cars; having an infrared camera projecting an overlay (not a replacement image, but a transparent overlay) would increase visibility at night or in fog/rain.

    Look up "gulfstream evs" on youtube for an idea. The tracing and outlining stuff in TFA is something entirely different.

    I want something like this:

  • Re:But (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:57AM (#31522200) Homepage Journal

    My problem with Japanese vehicles is that they don't offer me what I want. I like their cars, but their trucks are inadequate. They have adequate trucks in other markets (Toyota HiLux, Nissan Patrol) but they don't bring them here. Even if they did, they wouldn't come with diesels due to the emissions equipment; both companies sell numerous vehicles that they sell in the states in other countries, but with diesels as an option. The pickups only have maybe 4 liter diesels at the largest. Ford is about to offer a half-ton diesel, allegedly. If Nissan would offer me a 3.5 liter turbo diesel patrol here in the USA, I'd like to own one. I can't afford a new car anyway though, so even if they brought it out tomorrow, I'd still be rocking my antique 7.3 liter diesel ford F250 for some time.

  • Re:Reward vs risk? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joe Random ( 777564 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:12AM (#31522388)
    If people had bothered to RTFA (I know, I'm expecting too much), you'd see that it says:

    Add in the sign-recognition system GM’s Opel division has developed and the head-up display can tell you when you’re exceeding the speed limit

    So the highlighting of speed limit signs looks like it's intended to be used to highlight signs when they display a speed limit that is lower than your current speed. Sounds pretty useful for all those little "speed-trap" towns that litter state routes.

  • Re:Reward vs risk? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:23AM (#31522518) Homepage Journal

    Been there, done that. Pulling over isn't always the best thing to do. Ask a California highway patrol, he'll tell you that the people BEHIND you, who can't see where they are going, will follow your tail lights anywhere. Trying to stop in that thick fog invites an accident.

    I experienced a sudden downpour of rain in Mississippi, on the interstate. I mean, no warning at all. Someone on the CB radio said "Rain", and then I was in it. No little warning spatter or anything. Just a solid sheet of water, like walking under a rain spout during a downpour.

    Someone one the CB said he was stopping til it ended, someone quickly answered, "Don't stop - there's oil on the road, you can't stop, and the people behind you can't stop!" In six or seven minutes we had all made it through the squall, no one went in the ditch, and we were happy.

    Having driven much of my life on ice, I already knew that the best answer is often NOT to touch the brakes. We got lucky as hell, that day, that no one ahead of us hit THEIR brakes!

  • Re:Reward vs risk? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:51AM (#31522914)

    Yeah, and if you ever hit thule fog on I-5 in California, it can be just like that rain you encountered. Everyone is flying along at 70-80 MPH and suddenly you can barely see the edges of the road. It's a white knuckle experience, because you know you can't just pull over or you will be the wall that people run into at 70-80 MPH. That's been publicized after some of those dozens-of-car pileups.

    I turn on my front and rear fog lights*, let off the accelerator, and slowly decrease speed until I feel like I have just barely enough visibility to see hazards and steer around them if necessary. Then I continue to try to get the hell out of the fog before somebody rear-ends me with a 20+ MPH difference in speed.

    * And actually I use the rear fog light very conservatively, only turning it on when it isn't clear the following cars can already see me without it. Nothing pisses me off more than some of those yahoos who drive around on I-5 on a crystal clear night with rear fog lights and high beams blazing, completely scorching the retinas of everyone else.

  • Re:About time... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:19AM (#31523242) Homepage Journal
    No, the "Bailout" thing was the government buying into GM, called "Thinly veiled socialism." GM is owned by the Government (or "The American People," comrade).
  • by edwartr ( 1182951 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:22AM (#31523284)
    I don't know how useful / distracting an entire interactive windshield will be, and I can easily see possible issues; but I had a 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP with a true HUD that projected speed, turn indicators, etc. up on the glass. When you combined it with the radio control knobs on the steering wheel, I really only had to take my eyes off the road to look at the rear-view or side-view mirrors. It was not distracting at all even though it was directly in front of vision when looking straight out the front from the drivers seat; and it really helped / eased concentration in my opinion. It didn't add squat to the cost of the car and the only downside was that the windshield was expensive if you had to replace - you had to use a special coated one instead of just any replacement. Personally, I cannot figure out why all cars don't come with one. I truly miss mine.
  • Re:Tron-mode? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @11:26AM (#31523312)

    I hope it is. The last thing cars NEED is this. Cars have already been over engineered in that it costs thousands of dollars to repair simple shit and hundreds of dollars a month in required insurance to to protect yourself if you have to do major car work do to some mess up (not talking about health care costs or injuries).

    I'll take a more efficent car from the 60's that was easier to maintain than the motorized computers we have today. Cars are suffering from the excess.

  • Re:Reward vs risk? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:11PM (#31524650) Homepage Journal

    Saab, BMW, Volvo, you know, any decent European car. The problem is, a lot of Americans don't know what they are (even the people who own cars that have the fog lights) so when people are tailgating obnoxiously I hit the switch (I have rear fogs on both sides, not just the driver side) and the people behind me invariably back off, thinking I am breaking, but I actually accelerate slightly to confuse them and get them to back off further.

    You've seen rear fog lights. Ever see a volvo or saab with one super-bright "brake" light that is stuck on? You've seen an idiot who doesn't know what the rear fog light is for and thus leaves it on all the time.

  • Re:Reward vs risk? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:38PM (#31525894) Homepage Journal

    You probably won't be able to get this on any car that doesn't have adaptive cruise control with a distance sensor. It will know how fast the car ahead of you is going, including if it's stopped.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN