Head-up display (HUD), a technology borrowed from the aerospace industry and first introduced by General Motors to the automotive sector in 1988, seems to be grabbing a stronger foothold among consumers, reports The Detroit News. While only about two percent of vehicles were equipped with the technology last year, new estimates show that nine percent of new cars will be fitted with HUD by 2020.

In automotive use, HUD is used to project relevant information directly within the driver's forward view, thus allowing them to keep their eyes on the road. While the technology is complicated, the science is rather simple - light from a projector, usually recessed at the top of the dashboard, reflects off a special portion of the front windshield. Most of today's systems display vehicle speed, engine speed, navigation information and warnings.

The technology isn't without fault, however. Since it is reflection-based, drivers wearing polarized sunglasses have a difficult time seeing the image. And, like most newer electronic innovations, pricing is still an issue. Analysts currently estimate that the cost adds about $1,000 to the price of a high-end infotainment system, but those figures will fall as the HUD gains market share.


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  • 55 Comments
      Skylar Ross Toups
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think Mazda got it right by using a separate clear screen as opposed to the windshield. I love the option on my parents Vette but I'm looking forward to newer designs and more market share.
      Dixie Darling
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have polarized Ray Bans and I can see the HUD in my Camaro SS perfectly. It's also very helpful to have a tachometer in the windshield. You can also see what song is playing, what radio station you're on, who's calling you, and the roadmap when using OnStar. Those are all incredibly safe additions to my driving experience. I think HUD's should be required in all vehicles, along with proximity sensors on all four corners.
      Ryan C.
      • 1 Year Ago
      My 1996 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi has a HUD. Absolutely amazing, can see it perfectly anytime. It was seriously a strong contender in the full size sports sedan market with features like this not being made in BMW's and such. Now that it's in all these new sports and high end luxury cars it became all the rage.
      scott3
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have had several GM cars with HUD and it is one thing that should be made standard on all cars. While MFG are forced to put all these other things on a car to make it safe HUD would be one of the best things to improve keeping peoples eyes on the road. Polarized glasses will work but it is not as good with them as it can dim out since polarization will remove reflections and that is what HUD is. If anyone does not like it just shut it off. Pontiac 9 years ago had the NAV direction in the HUD so much of what is being offered now Is not so much new but just more refined and in more colors. The ATS system is prime!
        bluemoonric
        • 1 Year Ago
        @scott3
        And MyLink will keep their eyes off the road. My wife has an Equinox with MyLink. It can be very distracting.
      Greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      The best option on my corvette
        Jasonn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Greg
        You are driving the vette for the wrong reasons!
      Rick
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love the HUD in my ZL1 Camaro and its so useful on track days and everyday driving on the street. This my first car with one but it will not be the last for me or my wife going forward.
      Christopher
      • 1 Year Ago
      don't understand why this isn't available in more vehicles. Only a few GMs and a few BMWs. Absolutely loved this on a 2000 Grand Prix i used to drive. miss this feature and plan on it being in my next vehicle purchase. This is a useful technology and to those whining about more useless tech ending up in cars this isn't about adding facebook and twitter and all that crap to your dash display. it's about putting useful information right in the bottom of your line of sight, so you can see it in your peripheral vision in an instant without taking eyes off road. i think its fantastic and prefer this to fancy infotainment and navigation screens
        Awhattup
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Christopher
        Actually there are more... for instance, even Hyundai and Kia on their higher end vehicles. It's gonna tickle down eventually on cheaper cars as an option.
      Mr Sled
      • 1 Year Ago
      Cool as long as I don't start seeing ads in my HUD. I don't care what "free" service would be provided.
      Ducman69
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bought a used Corvette that had this feature, and I thought it was a gimmick until the second day. Now I can't understand why all vehicles DON'T have a HUD, as it is so much safer and more practical. You can aim the HUD up or down, and it doesn't obscure your vision at all. Its hard to describe, but especially at night when you take your eyes off the road and focus them down below up close on the dash, it becomes immediately obvious how wonderful a heads up display is that you just passively see. I don't see why it should be such an expensive option though. You're just projecting a simple image over a mirror up onto your windshield.
      transam
      • 1 Year Ago
      Unless you have driven a car with HUD you can't imagine how great they are. I had an HUD on my 05 Grand Prix. The display is right in your line of sight, but is not at all distracting, it's fantastic. Plus no one else in the car can see it unless they are in the drivers seat. I can remember driving friends who had never heard of HUD and didn't even believe me until they sat in the drivers seat, they were amazed. I can't understand why this tech has not taken off in the last 25 years.
      bayway48
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have the HUD/adaptive cruise control on my Explorer Sport. It is awesome during high peak traffic situations...you can keep your eye on the road and not constantly engage/disengage the cruise control during these situations. The system alerts you to slowing traffic and warns you in time to react safely. During my commute the traffic can be going at posted speeds and within seconds stop and go traffic or dead stop. Super piece of technology.
      bluemoonric
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bought a new Maxima in 1986 with a digital dash and HUD. I think the option was $600. Why is it $1,000 in 2013? The price should be down to about $60 by now.
        Greg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bluemoonric
        It's still so expensive because so few vehicles use it. If more vehicles had HUD it would be much less expensive, simple as that.
        qazzy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bluemoonric
        It has gone down. http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=600&year1=1986&year2=2013
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