New BMW windshield technology tackles driver distraction

Current head-up displays project a small field of view. Expanding the field of view can create a more immersive experience and deliver critical driving information in the driver’s natural line of sight, allowing them to keep their eyes on the road.

BMW’s new design showcases a head-up display technology that transforms the windshield into a secondary display.

The Bosch-supplied BMW Panoramic Vision display is tucked far back on the dashboard and just below the windshield. It projects the contents from its three screens across the lower section of the windscreen. The ultra-wide display sits in the driver’s line of sight but is low enough so as not to obstruct the view of the road.

Freyer said the Panoramic Vision display uses high-contrast “matrix backlight” technology.

It’s several times stronger than any display that is normally used in a car,” he said.

The display delivers driving information, navigation prompts and incoming notifications such as phone calls.

In pillar-to-pillar screen concepts, there’s so much real estate that automakers feel compelled to fill it with content, Durach said.

“We are trying to reduce the information … to really meaningful things and stay as focused as possible,” he said. As a result, vehicle speed is displayed as a number, with none of the graphics and animations that typically clutters the instrument cluster.

“We want to [emphasize] eyes on the road, hands on the wheel,” Freyer said. “That’s why we want to bring the most important information directly into the driver’s view.””

BMW pairs the Panoramic Vision with a parallelogram-shaped touchscreen within reach of the driver and front passenger. The centrally located OLED display is oriented to view infotainment, gaming and navigation.

A third screen — an optional 3D head-up display activated above the steering wheel — is limited to navigation and assisted driving information.

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