MINI’s Augmented Vision concept

MINI has unveiled a concept augmented reality system based on a pair of high-tech glasses that give you information about the world around you plus navigation and safety views.

The concept was introduced at the Shanghai Auto Show and MINI hope the high tech glasses would also help improve safety in cars, giving the wearer the ability to see through the car’s bodywork. The glasses would also display sat nav information, vehicle speed and text message alerts.

The glasses work by projecting imagery on the lenses in front of your eyes, with a perspective that changes as you turn your head. When the wearer moves their head they see information tags appropriate for whatever real world object might be in view — then look straight ahead and different information shows up.

‘We tried to keep the user interface very minimal to not distract the driver and just present the key information at the right time,’ said Robert Richter, advanced technology engineer at BMW’s US technology office in Mountain View, Calif. ‘Safety is our primary goal.’

The Mini Augmented Vision system is being developed at BMW’s Silicon Valley lab in Mountain View. ‘There isn’t a production date yet, and one of the reasons is we don’t know if we will produce those glasses – whether the Mini brand itself will make them – or whether customers will bring their own glasses and connect them to the car as we do with smartphones,’ Robert said. ‘That’s one of the key questions we have for the future.’ Said Patrick McKenna, manager of Mini’s Product Planning.

However optimistic Mini are about this concept, the likelihood of this kind of tech being adapted in the real world is an issue of contention within UK and US law, Google released similar tech in the form of Google Glass, which users are banned from using behind the wheel.