HUDS Head for HMI—but Future Not Clear

In a new report from the In-Vehicle UX (IVX) team at Strategy Analytics, consumers in the US, Western Europe, and China were surveyed regarding usage of and satisfaction with their head-up display (HUD). A small majority of owners worldwide use their head-up display full-time rather than hiding it from view, though such usage is markedly lower in China. Most consumers are satisfied with various aspects of their head-up display, but visual appeal and ease of adjustment elicited the most dissatisfaction. Despite their futuristic appeal, the jury remains out on the practical usefulness of head-up displays.

Key report findings include:

  • HUDs provide a way to display the status of the most relevant and critical functions to the driver in a manner that minimizes eyes-off-road-time (EORT) including but not limited to elements such as speed, critical warning indicators, next turn information and cruise control status information.
  • Due to the nature of HUDs sitting within a driver’s forward field of view (FFOV), display of more than seven pieces of information can be perceived as cluttered, distracting or inhibiting EORT. As such, great care must be taken to avoid superfluous or unnecessary information in the HUD.
  • But, as customizable digital instrument clusters (and HUDs) become more common across model lines, designers and engineers will have new “blank canvases” from which to build a driver-centric interface.

“The future of HUDs over the next 2 to 3 product cycles is exciting, as HUDs will have a crucial role to play in future HMI development, and be directly impacted by several future trends,” said Derek Vita, report author.

“Augmented reality (AR) HUDs for example, will gradually move from CES fantasy to on-market reality. When integrated well, AR can alert a driver to hazards, and effortlessly inform passengers of last-mile navigation information, providing a unique and powerful tool to enhance the UX and safety of the driver. Moreover, as semi-automated driving assistants spread across model lines, the HUD will also be an important modality for hand-off and take-over warnings.”

“But with all of the information augmented reality HUDs can provide, there will be a fine line between alerting the driver and obscuring their FFOV. When presenting such an alert in the HUD, designers will have the challenge of alerting and bringing a driver “back into the loop,” while not distracting them or degrading their situational awareness by occluding their view,” said Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP,