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What Is A Head-Up Display, or HUD?

The modern day driver is discovering one thing fighter pilots have lengthy recognized to be accurate: head-up displays are a great piece of technology.

As cars feature more and more infotainment alternatives, touchscreen displays and digital dials, one criticism at times heard is that these systems, although beneficial in their own appropriate, draw drivers’ attention away from the road.

What is a head-up display

What is a head-up display?


A head-up display is a projector that beams vital driver information into your field of view, so that it appears superimposed on the road ahead in mid-air. Though this may sound distracting, HUDs are carefully designed to be almost invisible when they’re not becoming looked at straight.

Head-up displays have been initially developed for military use during the Second World War. The system was viewed with scepticism initially, but it soon caught on. Air chiefs noticed that pilots utilizing a HUD to control their weapons had more attention to spare on in fact flying their planes - basically due to the fact they were in a position to keep their ‘heads up’, as an alternative to getting to glance down regularly at ancillary gauges and dials.

Why are HUDs fitted to cars?


Aside from the reality it looks fairly cool, the main cause to have a HUD is to do with focus. It is naturally far better to keep your eyes on the road as considerably as you can, along with a HUD removes a lot from the need to have to look away from where you are going. 

See also 4 Best Head-Up Displays (HUDs) For Your Car

Secondly, because HUDs avert you from possessing to glance away in the road to check your speed, as an example, your eyes don’t have to alter their concentrate as considerably. This method requires spot so quickly and reflexively you could not notice it occurring, but many collisions and near misses come about because of driver distraction. If you are travelling at speed, you'll be able to travel a important distance through the split-second it requires your eyes to readjust their focal point. Even though your eyes nonetheless want to adjust slightly when hunting in the road towards the HUD, the level of refocusing essential is lessened, and what’s taking place around the road will remain inside your peripheral vision.

What are the two various types of head-up display?


The easiest way for producers to equip a car using a HUD would be to use a ‘combiner’ system. This comprises a discretely hidden projector that beams its information onto a little transparent screen, or combiner. The combiner screen generally rises from the dashboard, and a few may be lowered when the system just isn't in use. Many combiner screen HUDs are made by secondary makers like Bosch. These can then be fitted by the carmaker at their factory, saving them the expense of obtaining to engineer their very own HUD system. The Mazda2, Peugeot 3008 as well as the new Renault Megane are cars that let you specify a combiner screen HUD.

Combiner screens have softly-milled edges and an aspheric surface, which means they’re almost invisible when viewed from dead ahead. If you’ve got a combiner HUD and discover it distracting, check your car’s handbook to determine if you can change the screen’s angle or the brightness of the graphics, as adjusting these settings ought to remedy matters.


The second type of HUD still uses a projector but dispenses with the combiner screen, instead beaming its information directly onto the windscreen. This means there’s no (potentially distracting) combiner screen to worry about, and also the carefully designed lines of the dashboard are not interrupted, either. In order for this type of HUD to operate, the windscreen must be specially treated to allow it to reflect the beamed information. Windscreen-projector HUDs are normally far more expensive to create than combiner screen systems, so have a tendency to be found in upmarket cars just like the Jaguar XE, the BMW 6 Series and also the Bentley Bentayga - as well as with these cars, they are an optional extra.

What information are you able to count on a HUD to show?


All head-up displays will show the car’s speed as a bare minimum. In the event the car has sat-nav, most will beam turn-by-turn directions onto the HUD - even though do not anticipate the graphics to become as detailed or plush as they may be around the sat-nav screen - there’s a limit to how sophisticated the images shown by a HUD projector may be. HUDs can also display what gear you are in, your fuel level and consumption, any engine warning lights that may come on, cruise control information and the road’s speed limit - assuming your sat-nav supports this feature, or your car includes a visitors sign recognition system.

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