Head-up display (HUD) was originally developed by the military to transmit targeting information to pilots without forcing them to take their eyes away from their flight path. In recent years, the technology has been utilized by mainstream automobile manufacturers to provide drivers with the same ability to information such as speed and directions while remaining focused on the road.

With concerns over distracted driving rising, there is an increased interest in HUD enabled cars. The technology utilized is called “augmented reality.” What that basically means is that the world around the driver (aka “reality”) is augmented by additional information that appears on the windshield in front of them. HUD can display information from GPS, infrared cameras and even mobile phone apps! This can be used for a number of functions which we’ll explore more below.

Driving directions

Anyone who has had to look down at a center console or smart phone to decipher their next turn will appreciate the convenience of having precise instructions superimposed on the road itself. A driver who is using Head-Up Display to get directions will see an indication for the turn lane they need to be in overlaid on the lane itself.

Decreased visibility

Head-Up Displays paired with infrared cameras can give drivers crucial information in low visibility circumstances such as fog. The systems can project, in real-time, the lines of the road and even cars ahead onto the windshield so that drivers are safely aware of what’s around them.


Head-Up Display can pair with Bluetooth or cell phones to allow for hands free texting and dialing. Future functions could include displaying information from applications, such as a restaurant’s Yelp rating, in the driver’s field of vision.

In 2014, auto manufacturers offered Head-Up Display technology in 38 different models (primarily Audi, BMW, Cadillac and Lexus) reflecting growing demand among consumers. Cost is still an issue—HUD displays require specially treated windshields and pricey optical equipment. For now, the majority of HUD-enabled vehicles are luxury models and the units can add a few thousand dollars to the MSRP of the vehicle.

Currently, HUD-enabled vehicles have a more limited range of functionality to go along with this price-tag. Most systems currently display information about current driving conditions, such as speed, and navigation information. We’ve put together a list of videos showing some available systems below.




Head-Up Display enabled vehicles have had somewhat mixed reactions. While many drivers appreciate the increased safety of keeping their eyes on the road (and the futuristic thrill it gives to driving), others worry about the device blocking their view of what’s ahead. At present, it is primarily helpful only for those who drive frequently in unfamiliar areas. Ultimately, it’s a promising technology that will help keep drivers safe in the future as more features are enabled and it becomes available in an increasing number of vehicles.

Whether or not you’re looking for a HUD-enabled vehicle, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888.427.4270 or get started today.