‘Google Glass on your windshield’ lets you check your phone with eyes on the road

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Navdy, a San Francisco-based start-up, wants you to see incoming messages from your smartphone with eyes on the road. (Navdy)

When you focus on your phone, you can’t focus on the road. A start-up company wants you to be able to do both by bringing Google Glass to your windshield.

Navdy, a San Francisco-based company, aims to let drivers access information on their smartphones while keeping their eyes on the road. The Navdy HUD (Head-Up Display), announced by the company  Tuesday, is an aftermarket console that combines a projection display with voice and gesture controls. The system will sit between your steering wheel and the windshield, and projects a transparent image that appears to float six feet in front of the windshield.

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Navigation on the Navdy HUD screen will not disappear when you receive an incoming phone call, according to the company. (Navdy)

Here are a couple things that the company says Navdy HUD system can do for you:

  • You can connect the system with your iPhone or Android phone via Bluetooth, and share data on your phone through WiFi.
  • Connect the system with Google Maps and you can navigate by simply looking at the projection on windshield.
  • Navigation will not disappear when there is an incoming phone call or message. Both will be displayed in a split screen.
  • When you get a call, give a thumbs up above the steering wheel to answer, and swipe to hang up.
  • Messages can be read to you while you are driving.
  • The projection can display car alerts, including speed, miles-to-empty and battery-voltage once the system accesses the car’s computer.
  • The system can be used in any car produced since 1996.
  • You can also control Spotify, Pandora or Google Music, and see social media messages with the Navdy HUD system.
  • Parental Control can be set on this device.
  • You probably won’t be able to browse your Facebook feed on it while you drive.
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The Navdy HUD system will sit between your steering wheel and the windshield, and projects a transparent image that appears to floats six feet in front of the windshield. (Navdy)

Although Apple’s CarPlay system also aims to integrate smartphones with the car dashboard and includes some voice control features, it still relies on using the touchscreen interface in the car. Karl Guttag, Navdy’s CTO and co-founder, said he thinks smartphones were never designed to be used while driving, and touch-based apps would force people to take their eyes off the road.

“So we started by completely rethinking what the experience of using apps behind the wheel should feel like,” Guttag said in the company’s blog. “Navdy is built from the ground up to be the safest and most intuitive way to make calls, use navigation, listen to music or access notifications without ever looking away from the road.”

Roberto Baldwin, who said he was able to demo an early prototype of the Navdy HUD system, wrote in his article on The Next Web that “on an atypical bright and sunny summer afternoon in the city (San Francisco), the display was crisp and clear, which is vitally important for HUD.”

Early adopters can pre-order the Navdy system at $299 during a 30-day pre-order campaign launched  Tuesday. Final retail price is set to be $499.

 

(This article has been updated with the quotes from Roberto Baldwin.)

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