Remember those movie cars where pertinent info was blinking prominently on the windshield, while the drivers were still able to follow the road ahead showing in the background? Those HUD displays used to be the stuff of futuristic films or F-35 pilot helmets, but no more.
The latest Augmented Driving trend is sweeping startups across this great nation ор abroad, and one of the pioneers, Navdy, has finally launched its device, after months of anticipation and teasing.
The reason it's called Augmented Driving is that Navdy's gear fuses the Head-Up Display concept with all the wonders of smartphone connectivity. Thus you can have trip info and directions right in front of you when driving, as if floating before the windshield, while everyday communication interaction is done in a safer and quicker manner than messing around with your phone while driving.
The interface is gesture-based, so swiping in the air will answer a call or show and read a message, requiring you to take a hand off the wheel only for a brief second. Navdy doesn't just rely on air gestures for interface commands. More complex menu diving and choices are done with a small jogwheel that is strapped to your side of choice on the wheel, and you can rotate it with your thumb to browse through songs, contacts and menu options, pretty neat. Needless to say, this is all done in sync with the treasure trove of info on your phone, as there is an accompanying app to connect and control Navdy with your Android or iOS device of choice.
Of course, one of the main reasons to get a HUD display like Navdy are the navigation options, and there is no better way to follow directions than having them right in front of your eyes, with the actual road as a backdrop. Navdy takes voice commands, and has built in GPS, accelerometer and gyro, as well as offline maps so that you are still guided turn-by-turn with voice commands even if there is no cellular coverage.
The fly in the ointment? Navdy costs a cool $799 if you buy outright, or $71 in monthly installments. Those buyers in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, Manhattan, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Miami, however, are getting a complimentary same-day shipping, plus a free setup service. Any takers?