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Windshield of vehicle evolves into navigation device

Windshield of vehicle evolves into navigation device

-Patent applications implementing augmented reality navigation screens on car windshields have increased

Navigation devices to assist a driver in driving a vehicle are commonly provided as a navigational device mounted on the vehicle or embedded in the dashboard with a small display [Reference 1]. However, this diverts the driver's forward view to the navigation screen and thus may interfere with safe driving. Recently however, the development of a technology that can improve driving safety by implementing an augmented reality navigation screen for driving information on the windshield of a vehicle is being brought to market [Reference 2].

According to KIPO (Commissioner Park Won-Joo), patent applications related to augmented reality navigation, which realistically displays the vehicle's navigation screen on the windshield of the vehicle, have increased.

An augmented reality navigation device displays driving information and external object information (traffic lights, lanes, driving information of other vehicles and surrounding buildings as well as local information) on the vehicle's windshield through a Heads Up Display (HUD) or a transparent display to reduce diversion of the driver of vision so that the driver can concentrate on driving.

* A Heads-up Display (HUD) is a device that allows the driver to see the vehicle's information (current speed, navigation, time, outside temperature, fuel level and direction of travel, etc.) by reflecting the information on the windshield inside the vehicle. A heads-up display is a device in which a thin film transistor (TFT) projection device generates a virtual graphic and projects it on the windshield of the vehicle using the principle of a beam projector.

According to KIPO, 14 patent applications related to this type of augmented reality vehicle navigation device were filed in Korea from 2009 to 2012, while 113 patent applications were filed from 2013 to 2018 [Reference 3].

Looking at trends over the last 10 years by applicant, there were 120 cases (94%) of domestic applications and 7 cases (6%) of foreign applications. Major applicants were Hyundai Autron (26 cases (20%), which were the most), followed by Hyundai Motor (23 cases (18%)), Thinkware (15 cases (12%)) and LG Electronics (12 cases (9%)).

Looking at augmented reality navigation devices by detailed technology, they are dominated by technologies for projecting an augmented reality navigation screen on a windshield using sensors and a heads-up display (HUD) (98 cases), transparent display technologies in which a transparent display is attached to the windshield of a vehicle to display an augmented reality navigation screen (25 cases), image processing technology to detect and correct for the driver's eyes and display information as a hologram or 3D screen (28 cases), and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies for performing communication with external objects to display external object information on an augmented reality navigation screen (14 cases).

The Processing System Examination Division of KIPO said, “Augmented reality navigation technology is a converged technology that includes HUD technologies with sensing functions, transparent display technologies, IoT communication technologies using 5G communications and image processing technologies, and, as it is expected to develop into a basic technology commonly provided to connected cars and self-driving vehicles, it is important to obtain preemptive intellectual property rights together with the development of the related technologies. ”

[Source: KIPO]

<Reference 1: Installation types of navigation devices>

Station-type navigation and embeded navigation (source: INAVI homepage)

<Reference 2: Augmented reality displayed on a windshield>

Navigation screen in which the driving information for a vehicle and external object information are being displayed on the vehicle windshield (source: Hyundai Motor homepage)

<Reference 3: Number of applications per year and application trends by applicant (2009~2018)>

∙ Searching method and object: KIPO DB (KOMPASS), keyword search between 2009~2018

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