Latest tech turns windscreen into a head-up display

Latest tech turns windscreen into a head-up display

A tech startup has received funding from Volvo to potentially turn car windshields into huge head-up displays.

An undisclosed amount has been invested by the Swedish automaker in optical and imaging technology firm Spectralics, through its Volvo Cars Tech Fund venture capital arm. 

Israel-based Spectralics has developed what the startup calls a multi^layer think combiner (MLTC). It’s a film that can be applied to transparent surfaces – like windshields. 

Volvo claims that the MLTC film allows images to be projected onto surfaces, potentially creating a large heads-up display where virtual objects are layered on top of the real-life view out the windshield. This potentially creates a more immersive version of the augmented-reality heads-up displays we’ve already seen in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Filters for different applications, in-cabin sensing, projecting images from forward-facing cameras to reduce blind spots, and holographic projects are other potential uses according to Volvo. 

When this technology will be ready for commercialisation wasn’t discussed by Volvo, neither were any concrete plans to use it in production cars. However, an investment could be the start of a longer-term partnership that could see future Volvos equipped with MLTC tech.

Volvo previously invested in lidar company Luminar and confirmed in 2020 that roof-mounted Luminar lidar sensors will be used in production cars beginning in 2022. The first cars to get lidar will be based on the upcoming SPA2 architecture.

In the past, Volvo said the next-generatin XC90 will launch SPA2 when it debuts in 2022. The automaker has also confirmed an electric XC90, although gasoline and plug-in hybrid powertrains may continue as well.

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