British automaker Mini has teamed up with US technology company Qualcomm to create an augmented reality system that aims to improve safety and convenience when driving – unveiled at Auto Shanghai last month.
The glasses link to the Mini's connected car system and smartphone to relay information back to the wearer, reducing the need to look away from the road while driving. Information, such as actual speed and navigational arrows, can be overlaid in a fixed position over the wearer's view of the real world, enabling them to turn their head while the graphics remain in place. They can also display a small icon when a smartphone message is received, which can then be read out via the car's speaker system.
Cameras positioned on the car's exterior are able to feed video into the glasses to be played when the user looks in that particular direction. This gives the appearance of the car's body becoming transparent, eliminating blind spots to enable easier parking, or to spot something that may be in the road. British marque Jaguar revealed a similar concept at the end of last year that offers drivers a 360-degree view of their vehicle – read this blog post for more information.
Part of a research project by BMW Group Research and Technology, no production date has been announced, although the team are likely to work towards a less obtrusive design than the current model before going to market. This is particularly important as Mini suggests the device could also be used outside of the car to aid on-foot navigation.
Developments in smart glasses demonstrate the potential of these devices to adjust behaviour and improve everyday experiences. Look to Smart Glasses Track Tiredness and Brain-Training Glasses for more insight.
Also take a look at our full coverage of Auto Shanghai 2015 for more releases from the event.