Augmented reality windshields will require flawless coding

Augmented reality windshields will require flawless coding

on Jan 4, 13 • by Chris Bubinas • with No Comments

Automakers are working to develop windshields that can display digital information on everything from road conditions to driving directions to social media updates. ...

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Automakers are working to develop windshields that can display digital information on everything from road conditions to driving directions to social media updates. While these heads-up displays are intended to reduce driver distraction, or head-down time, consumer safety advocates and industry voices have noted that augmented reality technology will need to be carefully designed to avoid creating new sources of inattention.

"It has to be done very judiciously, you don't want to clutter the windshield with too much information and cause it to be a distraction," said Tom Seder, General Motors' chief technologist for human machine interface, told the Wall Street Journal. "At the root of this is the desire to make vehicles safer."

Seder noted that all major car manufacturers are working on technology that could help drivers spot hard-to-see road features or alert them to erratic drivers. Researchers also see augmented reality tools allowing drivers to link their smartphones to their windshields, helping them view and respond to text messages, search calendars and more, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to Dave Sullivan, an analyst with market research firm AutoPacific, the prevalence of drivers using their mobile devices on the road means that heads-up displays are likely an inevitable advance to safely suit consumer habits. Nonetheless, developers will need to ensure that the embedded software behind any augmented reality tool is error-free.

"The windshield is one area where you can't have a half-baked technology," he told the Wall Street Journal. "This has to be flawless."

Emerging regulatory questions
Even as several components developers are working to create automotive infotainment hardware and software for augmented reality windshields, lawmakers are developing regulations, Crain's Detroit Business reported. In preparation for laws that will likely complicate current automotive software regulations such as MISRA standards, manufacturers may speed up research to ensure safety.

Japanese supplier Denso, which is already road testing some of its products outside of Detroit, is working to determine what amount of informational input constitutes a manageable driver workload, Crain's reported. Other industry voices are concerned that no amount of precaution can justify the use of smartphone-integrated windshield displays.

"I'm not convinced there's a technical solution in doing something cognitively that people should not be doing while driving," Richard Wallace, director of transportation systems analysis for the Center for Automotive Research, told Crain's. "Voice-activated Facebook isn't as bad as looking at the screen, but is it so urgent that we're willing to take any degree of safety off the table?"

As they look to meet consumer demand while addressing safety concerns, developers involved in augmented reality windshield programs may want to strengthen their coding procedures by using tools such as source code analysis to help identify and eradicate errors. In the move toward more software-reliant driving systems, the burden of regulatory compliance and consumer safety will increasingly fall on coding professionals.

Software news brought to you by Klocwork Inc., dedicated to helping software developers create better code with every keystroke.

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