Working in conjunction with Carnegie-Mellon and the University of Southern California, General Motors has been playing around with using augmented reality to give drivers an easier ride in tough conditions. The idea is reminiscent of the technology that sports broadcasters use during match analysis, when scribbles appear automagically to show that the Chicago Bears' defense is utterly pants (or something, American Football isn't my sport, I'm afraid) but about a million times more useful.
Using cameras and vehicle sensors, the system fetches data and paints the results onto a phosphor-coated windshield using ultra-violet lasers. So, for example, during foggy conditions, an illuminated line will appear showing the edge of the road, or highlight pedestrians, road signs, or, indeed, any animals that might have strayed onto the highway.
This latest heads-up display will work with GM's existing OpelEye technology, which tells the driver if he or she is traveling above the speed limit. It's doubtful, however, that we'll be seeing the technology in any cars until at least 2016.
[Yes, that's right, the second display includes an element of photo illustration, for you keen-eyed would-be commenters.]