Heads-up displays, or HUDs, are transparent displays that allow drivers to read vehicle measurements without having to lower their eyes. It’s a system that became popular in military aircraft, but its transition to commercial vehicles has been less than successful.
Space Tech’s iScout HUD is trying to change that. The transparent display links with your smartphone to show notifications from apps like WhatsApp and Twitter. You can also accept or reject calls with the swipe of your hand. What sounds like a better, much safer feature, is the blind-spot camera integration that warns you if a car is driving in those pesky gaps behind your ears.
The iScout has its own app and its built-in GPS will give directions on the “photochromic display” without interruption from alerts. The HUD connects with your car’s on-board diagnostics plug and displays everything most other available heads-up displays show, like fuel levels, maintenance issues, and speed. It will also direct you to the nearest gas station when it senses you are low on fuel, and the premium model comes with a front-collision camera and blind spot cameras that engage when your turn signal is on.
While some of these features sound like they might improve the safety of your driving experience, others sound rather distracting and dangerous, like reading tweets at 70 miles an hour. The company claims that the display “is focused into the distance and shown just below your line of sight.” Which sounds like you either have something in the way of your view of the road, or have to avert your eyes downward from the road. Both sound like bad ideas, but not much different than the screens found on new car’s center consoles or the small HUD-like display featured in its dashboards.
The iScout will first launch on Kickstarter, and is said to cost $269 for the basic edition and $299 for the premium. It is schedule for a November release, pending its success on the crowd-funding website. So keep yours eyes out for the iScout if you really must stay connected while doing something inherently dangerous, and don’t want to spend the money to buy the incredible technology in this Jaguar.