Bonnie Cha

Recent Posts by Bonnie Cha

The Road Ahead: Garmin HUD Projects Directions Onto Your Windshield

With the prevalence of smartphones and navigation apps, standalone GPS units don’t get much love these days. While this could mean a dead end for the makers of these devices, many are choosing to take things in a new direction.

Case in point: Later this summer, Garmin will release a portable heads-up display that projects directions from its Garmin StreetPilot or Navigon smartphone apps onto your windshield.

Called the Garmin HUD, the accessory sits on your dashboard and connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to your iPhone, Android device or Windows 8 smartphone. Once you’ve created a trip using one of the apps mentioned above, the HUD will then display turn arrows, distance to your next turn, current speed and other information, either on the windshield, using a transparent film, or on a reflector that attaches to the device — both of which are included in the box.

The HUD also automatically adjusts the brightness levels of the projections, depending on whether you’re driving during the day or at night. And the Garmin and Navigon mobile apps can complement the visual prompts with spoken turn-by-turn directions.

Garmin says that by putting this information into the driver’s line of sight, it’s safer and less distracting than using a smartphone to get directions.

HUD technology is not new. Originally developed for use in military aircraft, HUD is showing up in products like ski goggles and high-end cars. But since not all of us can afford a BMW or Lexus, Garmin is pricing the HUD at a more affordable $130, with the StreetPilot and Navigon apps costing anywhere between $12 and $100, depending on which regional map you purchase.

Garmin did not provide a more specific release date, other than to say it will be available this summer.

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