Is Tesla working on augmented reality for drivers? Fresh rumours emerge after Elon Musk recruits his SECOND Hololens designer from Microsoft.
- Andrew Kim worked on Microsoft's augmented reality Hololens project
- He has helped create a headset that lets you interact with holograms
- Potential applications include a projected display on the car's windscreen
- May make steering wheel minimalist ahead of it disappearing altogether
Tesla may be leading the charge for driverless cars, but it may also be looking to add augmented reality (AR) to the mix. The technology, which superimposes information onto real-time views of the users' surrounding, could help make Tesla cars far more minimalist.
By merging AR with Tesla’s on board computers, drivers could potentially see the car’s displays and even hazard information projected onto the windscreen. Tesla's AR rumours have been bolstered by the recruitment a former designer who has worked on Microsoft’s Hololens.
According to Slash Gear, the Palo Alto carmaker has welcomed industrial designer Andrew Kim to the fold. Kim was a senior designer on Microsoft’s Hololens, the software giant’s holographic AR headset, which was released to designers earlier this year. The device is essentially a holographic computer built into a headset that lets you interact with holograms within an environment.
The move indicates that Tesla could be working on AR for its next generation of vehicles. ‘Exactly what Kim will be doing at Tesla is unclear, though the automaker has an ambitious roadmap ahead,’ said Slash Gear.
Kim would be the second Hololens staffer snapped up by Tesla, which could mean big design changes lay ahead, likely involving an element of AR.
BGR’s Chris Mills wrote: ‘The most obvious product would be an AR windshield or heads-up display, which could replace the dashboard, make the steering wheel more minimalist (in preparation for it vanishing altogether), and improve safety by keeping eyes on the road.’ In recent months, Tesla has rolled out updates for its autopilot feature, which could eventually lead to fully automated vehicles.
As Tesla has a policy of not commenting on speculation or rumour, car owners and tech heads will have to wait and see what the future has in store. AR is an attractive prospect for car manufacturers, as incorporating the technology into cars could potentially help drivers to void collisions and see additional information while driving, such as speed and directions.
Last year, BMW Mini showcased its concept for goggles which would enable the driver to ‘see through’ the panels of the car by relaying video feed from cameras and sensors on the outside of the car.
The idea would help drivers to park in tight spots, see hazards such as a child running into the road and even locate empty parking spaces.
Microsoft's Hololens headsets were launched in the UK, Ireland, Australia, France, Germany and New Zealand in October, with headsets expected to begin shipping this month. Two HoloLens headsets are available to preorder online, with the development edition selling for £2,719 ($3,320) and a commercial version for £4,529 ($5,530).