While not a new technology, a heads up display for your car is awesome. The technology changes the way you access information on the road. Better yet, it will keep you safer while you do it. It’s no secret that technology is getting more and more advanced each year. Yet an increase in devices and apps designed to make your life easier can also make it much more dangerous. This is especially true when you can’t resist using them on the road.
A study by the American Psychological Association found that driving while using a cell phone made a collision four times more likely to occur and with the emergence of new technologies like navigation systems, there is more temptation than ever to pick up the phone.
What Is a Heads up Display for Your Car?
A heads up display for your car is a device or app that projects a digital transparent image of your vehicle information such as speed, navigation or even incoming calls onto your windshield, or a separate screen in the driver’s line of sight so drivers can access the information while keeping their eyes on the road.
From a cockpit to your dashboard
While this may seem like exciting new technology, HUDS actually came into development during World War II as a solution for pilots trying to locate their targets in hostile skies. This allowed pilots to access their information hands-free. This simple change allowed pilots to focus on the mission at hand. The innovation changed the design of military pilot planes. Heads up displays caught the attention of General Motors who reportedly included HUDs in the concepts for their 1965 aircraft-themed Mako Shark II and the prototype for the XP-856 Aero Coupe in 1969. It is believed that the cost and complex new technology stalled GM from continuing to include this new technology. The acquisition of Hughes Aircraft by GM in 1985 moved the technology forward and in 1988 50 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible Indy 500 Pace cars equipped with HUDs were available to select customers. Finally in 1990 customers were able to purchase a HUD as an add-on option on the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme for the bargain price of about $250 -- about $450 now.
How We Reviewed
We took a look at some of the current options for heads up display for your car and discussed some of the built-in and aftermarket display options. While reviewing, we looked at the specifications and pros and cons of each.
How Much will a Heads up Display Cost?
While HUD technology in vehicles may still be in its infancy, the HUD market is projected to be worth $2.09 billion by 2022, and it is likely here to stay. In order to get yourself a piece of this market, you will need to invest nothing for many basic apps (which may require in-app purchases) all the way to over $600 for the highly rated Kivic model.
The difference in price also reflects a difference in quality and features. For example, a basic app may only work at night or in low light settings whereas a built-in system with its own screen will work in any condition.
Some units use windshield film for their projection which can also limit clarity. If you are in the market for a new vehicle, look for a model where HUD is a standard feature. At least you can say you got yours for free!
Heads up Display: Aftermarket Device or Download?
The innovative technology comes in many forms and can cater to almost any budget. Whether you are in the market for a new car, willing to drop some cash on an aftermarket add-on or want to download it for minimal cost, sooner or later we will all likely be able to keep our eyes on the road and acquire essential information at the same time.
Heads up Display for Your Car: Our Top 3 Built-in
There is nothing sweeter than a brand new car. You get to choose the interior and exterior colors, customize your features and of course, enjoy that new car smell. If you are in the market for a new vehicle and are interested in a heads up display for your car why not take one of our top three picks for a test drive?
1. 2018 Toyota Camry HUD
While built-in HUD units originally were reserved for luxury brands with limited functionality, 2018 has seen this technology available on value brands with innovative solutions. The 2018 Toyota Camry features an available 10-inch HUD display that shows speed, turn-by-turn navigation, shift position, exterior temperatures, and safety alerts. While customers find the system easy to use, others were quick to point out that it is only standard on the XLE V6, XSE V6. You will have to purchase it as part of the driver's assist package on the XLE four-cylinder and XSE four-cylinder.
2. Mazda Heads up Display
Mazda has purposely only included driving information on their HUD to eliminate unnecessary information and keep drivers from becoming distracted by the name of the song on the radio or their latest incoming call. They refer to their HUD system as an "Active Driving Display." You can adjust the height of your HUD as well as tilt left or right to position the image in a comfortable position. This HUD is available for the CX5 in the GT technology package and comes standard on the 2018 GT N Signature CX9.
While some drivers will prefer the stripped down functionality of the Mazda HUD, others feel they missed the mark by not including fun features like Bluetooth calling.
3. 2018 Lincoln Navigator HUD
Many systems are incompatible with different lighting or when the driver wears polarized glasses, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator’s Digital Light Projection technology makes this possible along with the ability to choose what is displayed. The system is available as part of the technology package. It also includes adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. As well as a driver impairment warning and lane keeping aid.
Many customers call this HUD system one of the best. Other people were upset that it costs more. They want Lincoln to include it in the standard package.
Aftermarket Heads up Display for Your Car
Just because you are not in the market for a new car doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of this new technology. There are two different types of aftermarket HUD: those that OBD2 Port supporting technology and Smartphone supporting technology.
A heads up display for your car that you connect to with your smartphone can offer navigation and third-party apps. That gives you a lot of options to personalize your display. On the other hand, a heads up display for your car that works with OBD2 Port technology usually just shows you the information fed to it from your car.
It is important to consider the way your HUD is displaying the information. Higher-end units have a dedicated screen which can provide a much clearer image. If you choose a mid or lower range uni, you will need to install a special film for your windshield. The film displays the image on your windshield. Unfortunately, poor light conditions can cause poor image quality.
A frugal option is to utilize your Smartphone as a HUD. There are many options to mount your phone to your dashboard. This can allow you to easily be able to check your upcoming turn or exit. And you can do it without taking your eyes off the road. Many of the heads up display apps can only offer limited capabilities.
Take Our Top Picks for a Test Drive
No matter your budget, there is an opportunity for drivers to modernize their ride with fighter jet technology. In fact, we have round up our top five aftermarket HUDs. Fighter jet tech installed for a few hundred dollars or less may seem like an ideal option. But consumers should know many models have come and gone in a relatively short time.
For example, the Garmin HUD was a highly-rated favorite. After all, who wouldn’t want a HUD from the longtime trusted name in navigation? Despite high hopes, Garmin announced in April that their apps would be discontinued along with their HUD.
Another highly rated (and expensive!) HUD that had a short life was Navdy. Customers were informed via email that the company was liquidating their assets and that the devices were likely going to stop working. Many customers spent hundreds of dollars on technology that is now essentially a paperweight.
With that in mind, an economical HUD may be the best option until these become a standard vehicle option. No matter your budget, vehicle type or personal preferences, we have great options to suit any buyer!
Pyle Universal 5.5” Car HUD Screen
Pyle’s HUD features a 5.5-inch multi-color LED display that shows your car’s info on your dashboard. This system does require you to put reflection film on your dashboard. It has universal OBDII compatibility and works easily with most car systems and offers trustworthy information in real time. The HUD works with nanotechnology to minimize double reflections and clarify its multicolored display. It powers on and off with your engine to conserve your vehicle’s battery
The Pyle offers a compass, speedometer and speed alarm but does not offer navigation. This unit will run you between $110 and $140 and is available directly from Pyle or Amazon. It has a customer rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon. While customers love that the PYLE system offers a multi-color LED display, it still uses reflective film. Some drivers say it can limit visibility. It is also a bit pricier than many similar counterparts.
- ESSENTIAL DRIVING DATA - Displays speed & driving direction, the crucial data every driver wants to know, projected in full color display right onto the windshield in-front of you with no need to take your eyes off the road
- AUTO POWER ON/OFF - HUD Head-Up Display auto powers on/off with vehicle start & shutdown. Easily switch between KPH or MPH speed unit, featuring a speed alarm, giving you the ultimate display without compromising your safety
- PLUG 'N' PLAY - No hassle installation. Just plug in to cigarette lighter. Includes non-slip grip mat. Designed with latest nano-technology eliminating unwanted double reflections from vehicle laminated windshield
- SUITABLE FOR ALL VEHICLES - Built in Dual Core processing chip providing you with reliable real-time data received via GPS & providing you with a compass & driving direction without the need for vehicles on board computer. Perfect for every vehicle
- MULTI COLOR DISPLAY - 3.5 inch multi-color digital LED display with integrated light sensors for automatic image balance for clear readout & visibility during daytime or nighttime driving. Make your travel experience safer today with PYLE HUD
Kivic 2nd Generation Heads up Display
This device works with your smartphone to show from your Smartphone’s navigation app. It works wirelessly with both Android and iPhone. The information is projected on the road in front of your vehicle with a dedicated screen. You can also stay connected with social media notifications that can be customized to suit your interests. The Kivic features are controlled by the Kivic HUD app. The information comes from your phone without relying on OBD2 technology. This allows older vehicles to be able to use this technology. Installation is simple and consists of attaching the mount and plugging in the power source.
It is rated 3.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon. The price ranges from $200 to $300. While many drivers with older vehicles say that Kivic is a great option for them to sync their smartphone with their HUD, it is a higher-priced unit and hard to find online.
- Implements 10 inches screen on 2M ahead virtually
- Android & iOS support - Supported Airplay & Miracast for Mirroring
- Multiple Display through Windshield - Access to all notification, Rear view camera(option), any navigation app(Google, WAZE, Apple map etc..)
- Clear view - By adjusting the brighness of 20,000Nits automatically or manually, it provides the clear view during day and night.
- Input Power - 5 ~ 17V
DODORO 3.5” HUD A2 GPS
This simple, yet effective heads up display offers a built-in GPS and uses your car’s A2 ECU to collect vital vehicle information. The simple design offers a multi-colored LCD that is able to produce a variety of fonts. It also uses nanotechnology to produce a clearer image. Drivers are able to adjust the brightness manually and automatically. The unit only displays vital information such as speed, directions, and a speed limit warning. Your unit turns on and off with your vehicle in order to protect your battery power. If you buy directly from DODORO you can enjoy a 12-month warranty. It is available online for between $25 and $50.
It is rated 3.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Customers love that this HUD is an economical unit that offers nanotechnology for a clearer image. It also boasts a full-year warranty when you order directly from the manufacturer. The only con is that this unit will only work with vehicles manufactured in the last 10 years.
- For all cars. Our HUD is different from other OBD2 HUD displays. It collects data via the car's A2 ECU. The HUD's built-in GPS signal-receiving module can calculate your driving speed and offer you real - more accurate - data;
- It has a 3.5-inch, multi-color LED. It can produce a large font and has an auto/manual brightness adjustment. The screen surface uses nanotechnology to eliminate excess light reflection, making it easy to read even during daytime;
- The unit has a simple design. Instead of presenting complicated information, it only displays the most important measurements, such as driving speed (km/h, mph), speed-limit warning and directions. It does not interfere with your view. The unit also automatically powers on and off with your car, so it will not run down your battery. It also has a convenient manual on/off switch;
- Plug & Play. It is powered by the DC8-24V cigarette lighter and is compatible with all cars and trucks;
- Item from DODORO,make sure you choose DOODORO's no worries purchase.
Heads Up Display Apps for your Smartphone
You may want to consider a low-cost Smartphone app. Especially, if you are planning to invest in a heads up display equipped vehicle in the near future. This is a cheaper way to test the waters instead of an aftermarket HUD. The majority of the apps have limited abilities but are simple to download and test out.
For example, the Hudway app offers projection from your Smartphone onto your windshield but can currently only work at night or in low lighting conditions.
Tesla and Hyundai vehicles have apps to sync with Google Glass to display navigation, check battery levels and lock and unlock your car doors but you must own both Google Glass and a Hyundai and Tesla.
Another option to consider is a kit to mount your Smartphone on your dashboard. One could argue that driver’s don’t really need to have their speedometer, compass or battery life displayed on your windshield. But to have navigation available in your eye line is an asset on the road.
Should You Get a Heads up Display for Your Car?
Heads up displays may not be a new technology, but many drivers may be using HUDs for the first time. There are absolutely a great addition to your car and will make traveling a whole lot easier. We recommend everyone check one out.
So what do you think drivers? Are HUDs a great tool for drivers to keep their eyes on the road? Or are windshield projections an unnecessary distraction? Let us know in the comments!