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Car Navigation Map Overlaid on Reality

Car Navigation Map Overlaid on Reality
By Tracy Staedter, Discovery News

image from www.siemens.com

Nov. 1, 2005 — A new navigation system for vehicles displays
transparent route markers onto an actual image of the road ahead,
directing the driver in a more intuitive way than more conventional
birds-eye view maps.

The Augmented Reality Navigational system from researchers at siemens
and the University of Linz in Austria allows a driver to safely focus
on the road ahead even in unfamiliar surroundings.

“The idea is that the driver can see the route where he has to go as
if it were painted directly on the pavement,” said Dieter Kolb,
project manager at Siemens Corporate Technology.

The system is based on traditional navigation technology that uses a
GPS, a map of the area, and computer software to orient the vehicle
along a path and point it in the right direction. But in addition to
the basic package, the system incorporates a camera mounted on the
windshield. Its sensors such as an odometer to measure speed and a
gyroscope to track the car’s orientation allow the computer to keep
the car enroute when GPS data may not be available, such as when the
car enters a tunnel.

The system works by first creating a three-dimensional model of the
route. It then renders a two-dimensional image, which contains the
left turns, right turns, “keep straights” — essentially the shape of
the course. The camera, which is filming the scene in front of the car
in real time, feeds that information to the computer, which overlays
the two-dimensional shape of the route.

The augmented view can appear on a screen built into the dashboard.
And the driver has the option of choosing between several views or
allowing the computer to display the most appropriate view. If the
driver is on a highway, for example, the computer may show the bird’s
eye view to provide an overall view of the route. But as the driver
approaches an intersection, the computer will switch to the augmented
reality view.

“Augmented reality is nice because even if I’m looking at the screen,
the screen itself is a view I’m driving into. I’m still looking
fundamentally at what I’m supposed to be looking at when I’m driving,”
says electrical and computer engineering department head Ed
Schlesinger, former co-director of the General Motors Collaborative
Research Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. “This kind of system can
have real safety implications if it’s designed right.”

The next step, said Kolb, may be a camera-less system that would
project a transparent path of the route directly onto the windshield,
making it possible for the driver to never take his or her eyes off
the road. Earlier this month, the research team demonstrated the
system in a shuttle bus in Linz before more than a thousand
passengers. Kolb thinks that the system could be ready for the market
in another five years.

Thu, November 24 2005 » Future Cinema, augmented reality, emerging technologies, screen technologies