Could augmented reality limit driver distractions?

Driving doesn't have to be a dangerous endeavour, but it can be when people aren't paying attention. Fleet managers in particular will know the challenges that come with managing a range of drivers, all of whom are busy out on the road.

Traditionally, technology has been the enemy for motorists who are struggling to keep their attention while driving. According to the Road Safety Commission in WA, 15 to 20 per cent of all driver distractions are the result of technology such as mobile phones. 

However, in today's world, high-tech innovations may be the answer to these issues, something automotive manufacturers are now wrestling with.

According to technology research specialist Frost & Sullivan, these companies will look to utilise emerging technology to create head up displays (HUDs) for vehicles that go beyond what current incarnations can offer. 

While HUDs have featured on some vehicle models since the 1980s, these were often a novelty, with their neon designs not doing much to help drivers stay attentive. In modern cars these units are often used to relay important information to the driver - such as speed and fuel level - on the windscreen, so drivers don't have to take their eyes off the road. 

At this stage the technology is normally limited to premium manufacturers due to its production cost. This means HUDs are often found in expensive vehicles, so not all drivers receive the benefits they offer.

Frost & Sullivan expects this to change however, as the cost of producing this equipment is forecast to decrease in the coming years. Because of this, it's expected to become standard in the small and medium-sized car segments as well. 

Once the technology gains traction across more market sectors, it should help motorists to stay focused on the road.