After a period of stagnation, heads up displays are once again coming to the fore, and according to both Audi and Pioneer, the future involves next generation laser light displays.

Although Audi teased its plans to incorporate laser-based HUDs in future models and brought a rough demo to CES (right), Pioneer had a more polished unit on hand utilizing RGB laser light source technology to project an interactive map onto the windshield along with a helpful little robot that displays traffic cameras, text messages, incoming phone calls and other programmable information. Pioneer calls it the Network Vision Heads Up Display Concept, and the key word is "Network." Not only does it incorporate the navigation system into the display, but it's connects to the driver's smartphone, so the possibilities of what can be projected onto the screen are nearly infinite. The video below shows the system in action, although we're told Pioneer would prefer the system to display the map and auxiliary information in the upper left hand corner of the windshield to minimize distraction. Think a GTA-style minimap and you're not far off. Pioneer officials say they're looking for OEM partners and expect the system to be available as early as 2012.

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