Start-up shows immersive holographic head-up display technology

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

With the help of its Deep Reality Display, a new generation of holographic True Augmented Reality Displays, WayRay hopes to transform the entire windscreen into a virtual world in which information about the vehicle, navigation, infotainment and surroundings can be displayed, largely merging with the real world.

The Deep Reality Display can show different parts of the virtual image at different distances. The display has near-field information that includes all the necessary elements of the dashboard and is supposed to be at a comfortable distance from the driver’s eyes, making it easy to read both in the city and on the motorway. In the far field, the immersive True Augmented Reality (AR) multi-depth planes enable the display of complete AR applications, from low-level navigation to infotainment and gaming content. This feature reduces disparity errors between the virtual image and the real world, providing an immersive and safer user experience, the company claims.

“The Deep Reality Display is a key implementation of our breakthrough technologies that we plan to bring to market by early 2023. It transforms the driving and passenger experience, making it a more enjoyable, comfortable and safe experience,” WayRay founder and CEO Vitaly Ponomarev outlines his idea. But Ponomarev’s vision is not limited to car windscreens: if the company founder has his way, it will one day be possible to turn any transparent surface into a window into virtual worlds.

WayRay: Space-saving electro-optical unit for HUDs

The Deep Reality Display is the result of years of development work. The core components are a laser unit, an image generation unit and a special holo windscreen. The laser unit can be installed anywhere in the vehicle. It generates a red-green-blue (RGB) light beam that is guided through an optical fibre to the imaging unit. The latter has a significantly smaller volume than other HUD technologies on the market and is thus intended to fit into any vehicle. In numbers: WayRay’s imaging unit requires an installation space of only about 3 litres compared to conventional head-up displays (HUD) with a volume of about 18 litres.

After passing the imaging unit, the light beam hits the holo windscreen, a key component of the Deep Reality Display. It consists of holographic optical elements (HOEs) recorded on a custom-made photopolymer, as well as functional layers that meet the automotive industry’s requirements for glazing. Unlike conventional HUDs, WayRay technology is also immune to bright sunlight, WayRay promises.

For drivers, the Deep Reality Display means they can focus more on the road while not being distracted by subtle entertainment features, the company claims. To minimise distractions, the system ensures that the driver is only shown selected AR apps that are relevant to the traffic situation and context at hand. In some circumstances, the Deep Reality Display can also show him entertaining AR apps and travel- and environment-related content. In autonomous vehicles, drivers and passengers will be able to see immediately whether the autopilot has detected a source of danger and intervene quickly accordingly.

For passengers, it is intended to offer improved in-car infotainment options, with games as a new type of entertainment that can now be implemented with a high degree of immersion. In the process, passengers become virtual characters that interact perfectly with the digitally enhanced real world.

To develop this technology, WayRay partnered with Covestro and AGP Group. The transparent photopolymer film for the holographic optical elements comes from Coverstro, a leading supplier of high-tech polymer materials. AGP Group, a manufacturer of high-tech automotive glazing is responsible for integrating this special thin layer into the curved windscreen lamination that enables the holographies.

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