If you want to drive with something more personal than a heads-up display, Mini is hoping to bring technology to your car in the form of a pair of connected eyewear. Called Mini Augmented Vision, the smart glasses work a bit like Google Glass or ODG’s smartglasses, projecting information in front of you relevant to your drive. Information appears in your field of vision, but in such a way that it doesn’t obstruct your view of the road. BMW showed off a working prototype of the glasses earlier this month at the Shanghai Auto Show.
“Mini Augmented Vision gives an insight into how intelligent connectivity between a Mini car and eyewear into which relevant content is projected might work in the future,” explains Dr. Jörg Preibinger, project-manager Mini Augmented Vision, BMW Group research and technology. “Working with several Qualcomm companies, we have created an interlinked system and augmented reality eyewear with a characteristic Mini design that revolutionize the experience both in and outside the vehicle.”
A little different than the augmented reality Microsoft is offering with its upcoming HoloLens, in their current form the glasses have the ability to perform quite a few of the same functions you might expect from a conventional heads-up display in your vehicle. You can view directions to your destination, your speed and how it compares to the current speed limit, and see how much longer you have left before you arrive. The glasses are capable of highlighting points of interest along your ride, such as a great place to stop for dinner, and can let you know when you receive a text message. When you do, built-in audio functionality will read the message back to you, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
Things get really interesting with the eyewear when it comes time to park. The glasses can direct your attention to an open space, and display images from the side mirror, so you can see exactly how close you are to the curb when you’re trying to squeeze into that parallel parking spot. An “X-Ray View” also allows you to see other objects that might have otherwise been concealed by parts of your car. The company is staying tight-lipped on how exactly this is supposed to happen, but we should find out more before long.
“Mini Augmented Vision offers a compelling example of what’s possible today, and what we can expect in the future,” says Jay Wright, Vice President, Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc. We could see a whole lot more functionality come to connected eyewear before its eventually released to the public.
There isn’t any exact pricing or release info yet for the Mini eyewear, so consider this little more than a tease at the moment.