It’s become common to hear about people crashing cars because they’re messaging on their phones as they drive or using their phones as a sat-nav alternative without a suitable cradle. Car drivers more so than ever rely on LCDs to show maps, moment-to-moment directions, phone, and audio entertainment information, but it’s a solution that invariably diverts a driver’s eyes from the road.
Navdy, the new Android/iOS phone-connected, heads up display (HUD), proposes to keep people’s eyes’ on the road with even more technology. It’s sits on the car’s dashboard between the steering wheel and the windshield, whilst projecting phone alerts, crisp maps and information directly into the driver’s view. The Navdy device plugs into the vehicle diagnostic port, powering the unit and provides engine information and speed.
Navdy allows connection to Android and iPhone devices via the relevant apps. The Navdy displays directions taken from Google Maps. When an Android / iOS device receives messages and notifications, they briefly slide into the drivers line of sight , which allows the driver to interact should they wish. The Steering-wheel-mounted dial is an intuitive solution to interact with the HUD without having to touch the screen.
The Navdy is ideal as a simple glance down at the display is safer than the driver turning their head in order to look at the car’s center console. Distracted driving activists insist that the only safe driving method is with no technology. However, recent research from the University of Toronto indicates that info projected onto the windshield is somewhat problematic because now, drivers have to focus on two things at the same time, the crisp images on display, and the road.
What Is The Navdy?
The Navdy is a portable HUD that helps you stay connected whilst driving and allowing access to Maps, calls, messages and music without compromising safety. The projected image is crisp and in full colour and faultless to view even in direct sunlight.
Natural hand gestures allow users to answer phone calls and view messages with a swipe of the hand. Navdy will read your messages aloud and allow reply by use of Google Assistant or Siri. Be directed to your destination through the car’s GPS (Maps provided by Google Maps). Access and play all your music via the Appstore, Playstore, Spotify and more!
How it works
The product, “Navdy”, is placed on the car’s dashboard in front of the driver’s line of sight. The Navdy projects crisp images and maps onto a transparent screen. When the driver drop’s their view, they can see the full-colour display and it appears as if the projection is suspended in the drivers line of view. The CTO, Karl Guttag is the man behind the micro-display technology for Navdy. Information is projected onto a pane at the bottom of a driver’s field of vision, this reduces cognitive processing for the driver making reaction times quicker and the roads safer.
Display and Application integration
Graphics appear sharpened, delivering a better resolution and colour than alternative
Head-up-displays (HUD’s). Despite the display being a key feature of Navdy, the company is taking the feature further by running a large selection of mainstream Apps including navigation, (Maps provided by google). Due to concerns on behalf of the company about the safe use of Apps while driving only certain Apps have been approved for use and the company will continue to rule as to which future app updates and release are deemed appropriate.
Navdy also offers an app that will integrate the user’s phone with the HUD. Navdy provides moment-to-moment directions, projected in front of the driver, as instructed by the integrated phone. If the phone rings for an incoming call, the device will display the caller info.
The Navdy device offers multiple options and preferences. The device will take information in about gestures the driver makes. For example, a swipe of the hand to the left will answer an incoming call. The gesture recognition and control only becomes active in the event of activities such as a phone call, music or actions that are contextual or in use so that the device does not inaccurately impose functions that could lead to frustration and distraction from the road.
Navdy can use your car’s microphone which is normally used for phone calls. This allows Siri and Google voice capabilities once paired. This benefits the driver as it allows for in-drive phone use without the need to touch the handset or a button.
What makes Navdy unique?
The Navdy apps have access to the car’s OBD-II port. Navdy connects to the OBD-II port for power and by doing so is able to read data from a car’s diagnostics system, which allows users to view the levels of fuel efficiency, vehicle performance, vehicle issues and a myriad of additional vehicle specific features by use of the app.
The unit consists of two parts. The magnetic mount which has a cable that runs to the OBD-II port, and the projection unit. Users are able to take the projection unit with them when they leave the car with ease making sure your car isn’t broken into for the Navdy. The mount material is flexible and moulds to the shape of the car’s dash in order to minimally impact on the aesthetic of the vehicle’s interior.
There is little competition in the HUD market. Garmin currently feature a product, however it is black and white and solely focused on navigation. Some brands such as BMW have their own in-built version, however none of the current products encompass all aspects and features of the Navdy that are currently on the market.
Is It Easy To Use?
The Navdy driving experience took time to adjust to but eventually became second nature. You can choose from a Map display or a view of the car’s instrument panel. Navdy also allows customisation of the dashboard with key information such as speed, fuel range, RPM, compass and more! Switching between the different interfaces is easy and just requires a tap and a dial turn. After a few hours of driving, I noticed that I’d stopped looking at my car’s dashboard completely and I felt that the inbuilt instruments were more unsafe as they were further from the line of driver’s view.
Interaction wasn’t quite as anticipated. I was expecting a futuristic touch-free experience but instead of hand gestures I found myself relying on the dial.
Verdict -Is the Navdy worth it?
For those who are looking to expand their technological insight it is a breath of fresh air. It allows improved functional features making it perhaps safer and less distracting from the road than your dashboard as it is always in view. The market is dependent upon users knowing what an OBD port is and then being able to complete the installation themselves.
Alternatively you could install a compatible touch-screen device such as the Android Auto or Carplay. You wouldn’t get the on screen projection but you would be able to access music and take calls without messing with wires or compromising safety and legal compliance. Irrespective of the above, the product solves multiple solutions in tandem allowing people a safer yet modern-day driving experience.