I spent some time in BMW’s 2012 M6 last month, and found the convertible to be enjoyable, but confusing.
One feature, though, really stood out: The heads-up display.
After a weekend using the head-up display (HUD), I think every car should have one.
HUDs project information like speed, navigation directions, engine RPM, and local speed limit, onto the windshield of a car, in the driver’s line of sight.
That means the driver can see all that data without looking away from the road. I loved it, especially for navigation.
In the M6 and other HUD-equipped cars I’ve tested, I don’t need to listen to annoying voice commands or constantly check a map on the central screen.
It’s safe. It’s convenient. So why don’t more drivers have it?
In a word, cost.
HUD units have been in jet fighters for decades, but including them in cars still usually costs about $1,000, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In 2012, more than 800,000 cars with HUD units were sold worldwide. That number could rise tenfold over the next decade, an analyst at Tokyo’s Fuji Chimera Research Institute told the Journal.
GM put it in its new Cadillacs and Buicks. In the M6, HUD is included as a part of an Executive Package (along with a heated steering wheel and smartphone integration), for $4,900. Ford broke the luxury car monopoly on the technology in the 2013 Fusion.
Rising demand should drive down cost over time, so more drivers can keep their eyes on the road. Considering the rapid growth of backup cameras, which may soon be required in all new cars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we could all benefit in the near future.
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