Automotive components manufacturer Continental is working on a new generation of head-up displays that will be more active and show more than simply the speed and what the parking sensors can sense.

Equipped with augmented-reality technology, Continental said these head-up displays (HUD) can mark objects directly in the driver’s field of vision for the first time. The company strongly believes with this capability, the HUD can have a major hand in gaining acceptance for automated driving.

The augmented-reality head-up display (AR-HUD) Continental is working on is said to be able to show the driver what vehicle sensors such as radars and cameras can see and what driving strategy the electronics have chosen as a result.

The automotive supplier expects it to be ready for production in 2017.

“With the latest generation of head-up displays, we are positioning ourselves as a technology leader in a market that studies show has the potential to crack the billion mark as early as 2018,” said Helmut Matschi, a member of Continental’s Executive Board and head of the Interior division.

Worldwide, ten automotive manufacturers currently offer a head-up display as an option in a total of 19 vehicle models. Continental estimates the global volume of installed head-up displays to be around 1.5 million units for the current year; the automotive supplier expects this volume to more than triple by 2018.

Continental has implemented an advanced pre-development version of this new technology in a demo vehicle, able to reflect full-color graphics into the real road view in the driver’s field of vision.

The company explained the basis for this is “digital micromirror device” (DMD) technology, which is also used in digital cinema projects. The AR-HUD is said to display information from driver assistance systems, such as lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control, in the driver’s field of vision. For example, it can show drivers which vehicle their vehicle system has detected ahead.

Continental believes the AR-HUD is key in helping increase the acceptance of automated driving. The company gave as an example the fact AR-HUD can show the driver which vehicles, objects, and/or road markings have been detected and what driving strategy has been chosen as a result. An automated overtaking maneuver can be announced, for example, by highlighting the lane.