The car windshield as you know it may soon be getting a makeover. Consumers’ demand for increased technology, coupled with regulators’ demand for increased safety features, is leading manufacturers to turn to the windshield as an enhanced information source. Soon, millions of vehicles on the road will project information onto vehicle windshield screens, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road.
The concept isn’t new, in fact head-up displays (HUD), designed to keep fighter pilots’ eyes on the sky rather than the instruments in the cockpit have existed as a novelty in high-end luxury cars since the 1980’s. Automobile manufacturers however, have just begun to demonstrate models which will bring this technology much more mainstream.

The goal of the technology is two-fold: enhance driver convenience and minimize drivers taking their eyes off the road. While the Toyota Prius, Mazda3, and BMW Mini models offer basic HUDs today, manufacturers are now demonstrating vehicle models with more advanced built-in projections capable of displaying speed, range, turn-by-turn directions, and other crucial safety data along the bottom of the windshield.

Eventually radar in vehicles may also project images of upcoming hazards such as pedestrians onto the windshield. Manufacturers suggest this technology is potentially less distracting then having a driver look down onto a cluttered dash board screen, or their mobile phone.

It is estimated HUD technology will be present in 11 million cars by 2021.