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2015-02-16

BMW’s Next Step into Wearables Could be Virtual Reality Goggles for Drivers

BMW’s Next Step into Wearables Could be Virtual Reality Goggles for Drivers

After hearing about wearables coming to connected cars for over a year, the first wave of the technology is now making its way into vehicles. Hyundai has shown an Android Wear-ready version of its BlueLink remote app that the company has said will be available soon, and BMW showed a similar concept at CES that even allows controlling a self-parking car.

Now comes news that BMW is developing virtual reality goggles that will not only display information such as speed and navigation info, but also help drivers “see through” a car when parking to avoid bumping into obstacles ranging from pedestrians to utility poles. According to the Financial Times, the VR goggles will augment the automaker’s existing self-parking technologies by syncing with a vehicle’s sensors and cameras, and will also project the areas around the car that a driver may not see.

In this way, the goggles, which are being developed by BMW’s research lab in Silicon Valley, will allow the car to virtually disappear as the driver looks behind. We’ve seen a similar trick developed by Jaguar/Land Rover that causes a vehicle’s hood and also its A pillars to virtually disappear to provide the driver with a better view ahead. And researchers at Keio University in Japan created a Toyota Prius with a see-through backseat using an invisibility system that projects video footage of the area behind the vehicle onto the seat using a surface woven with thousands of retroreflective beads.

While wearable technology is still finding uses cases and consumer acceptance outside the car, we applaud any effort that can make driving easier and safer. Even if it means looking as silly as Google Glass wearers. But hopefully not.

 




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