Automotive AR HUD tracks driver’s eye movements

Automotive AR HUD tracks driver’s eye movements

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

At CES 2022 Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America, a tier one automotive supplier, unveiled their Augmented Reality HUD (AR HUD) 2.0, the first to include a new patented eye tracking system (ETS) enhancing the AR experience.

Powered by Panasonic’s SkipGen2, its eCockpit infotainment controller, AR HUD 2.0 with patented ETS leverages Panasonic’s legacy of advanced optics. This proprietary innovation is enabled by an IR camera packaged with the AR HUD projector and optics, eliminating the need for a standalone driver-facing camera. ETS recognizes the driver’s line of sight and optimizes the AR imagery for clarity and accuracy creating a more intuitive and pleasant experience.

“The Panasonic AR HUD 2.0 continues the trend of up-integration of display domains, such as Cluster and HUD, into the central infotainment compute module,” said Andrew Poliak, CTO, Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America. “By integrating our proprietary eye tracking technology into the AR HUD we can improve fidelity of images in the driver’s field of view by knowing precisely where the driver is looking then matching and focusing the AR images to the real world much more precisely.” 

Specifically, the ETS technology identifies the individual driver’s height and head movement behind the wheel and dynamically adjusts and compensates the images in the “eyebox.”  Drivers are constantly shifting their head and changing their line of sight, but with parallax alignment and dynamic autofocus working together, drivers will only see accurately positioned, crisp, high-resolution overlays and icons. The driver’s experience is powered by AI navigation software which intelligently matches the changing environment with AR overlays and icons providing an intuitive awareness of the situation and surrounding environment. 

Panasonic AR HUD 2.5D features include:

  • AI powered navigation software with 3D AR overlays, icons, and mapping.
  • DLP for crisp, high resolution images and icons.
  • Simulated 3D using a tilted, dual image plane providing 3D at the cost of 2D.

Patented, newly updated eye tracking (ETS) enables:

  • Automatic driver height adjustment.
  • Parallax compensation (to properly align AR icons in the optical path).
  • Dynamic auto focus (to account for shifting driver eyebox positioning).
  • Driver monitoring capability (to identify and monitor the driver’s state).

Placing the IR camera within the AR HUD eliminates the need to package a standalone driver monitoring camera and supports driver identification and other driver monitoring features like detecting drowsiness, impairment, and distraction.

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