Japanese automotive manufacturer Nissan has created an augmented reality (AR) interface that allows drivers to “see the invisible”, by blending the real and virtual worlds to create an in-car experience that is both safer and more enjoyable for drivers.

Branded Invisible-to-Visible, or I2V, by the car manufacturer, the system will rely on sensors fitted on the interior and exterior of the vehicle, which will collect data on the vehicles immediate surroundings. Combined with cloud data, the system will be able to predict what’s up ahead for the driver. Rather than just showing road maps, much like a traditional sat nav device, I2V will be able to build a more complete picture of the vehicles surroundings, allowing drivers to see through buildings or around corners, for example.

The system will then overlay these views in the driver’s field of view, allowing them to better prepare for a range of scenarios and avoid mistakes such as missing turnings or entering one-way streets.

A guide, in the form of an avatar, will appear in the car to offer drivers information and advice using speech synthesis technology to interact with the driver in a ‘human-like’ fashion. This experience can be personalised by the driver to suit their interests and use cases.

The technology is capable of creating a range of assistants, from cartoon characters to family members or friends in the form of a 3D AR figure.

“By helping you see the invisible, I2V enhanced your confidence and makes driving more enjoyable,” Tetsuro Ueda of the Nissan Research Center said. “The interactive features create an experience that’s tailored to your interests and driving style so that anyone can enjoy using it in their own way.”

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By GlobalData

Nissan Invisible-to-Visible: Driving innovation

The system, developed by the Nissan Research Center as part of the Nissan Intelligence Mobility vision, is powered by the company’s innovative omni-sensing technology, which collects real-time traffic, surroundings and in-car data.

The technology is capable of creating a 360-degree map of the surrounding area, complete with relevant information on road status, visibility, road signs and nearby pedestrians. Likewise, the system can also monitor the driver, recognising when they need assistance using a feature of the vehicle, or are showing signs of driving fatigue.

Nissan has also included a range of features that will help to improve the driving experience for passengers on long journeys. For example, the I2V system will be able to project a sunny interior inside a vehicle on rainy days, and connect passengers with guides to provide information and answer questions on the local area.

The I2V system will be available to demo at the Consumer Electronics Show 2019 in Las Vegas next week.

Attendees will be able to sit inside a cockpit donning a pair of AR googles, which will guide them through a variety of scenarios that show off the capabilities of Nissan’s “ultimate connected-car experience”.

Nissan will be present at CES 2019 throughout the exhibition, located at the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.