The satellite navigation firm Garmin has produced a portable head-up display (HUD), that projects directions directly on to a windscreen.

It works by combining a smartphone and a Garmin app to generate navigation information. The HUD projects directional arrows, distances, current speed and speed limits on to the glass.

Garmin portable head-up sat nav

In order for it to work, the HUD’s reflector lens is attached to the glass of the windscreen. Brighness levels are automatically adjusted so that the information is easy to read both during the day and night.

As well as visual directions, the navigation system also provides voice prompts through either a smartphone speaker or the car’s stereo.

Tim Edwards, a principal engineer at the motor industry research firm Mira said that this new device looks “interesting”.

“Car makers are starting to do this themselves but their challenge has always been development lifecycles,” he said. “Your smartphone changes almost daily but there’s a limit to how fast a car can be updated.”

It is becoming more common for HUDs to be built into even mid-range cars but once these have been fitted, they cannot be updated. Mr Edwards thinks that gadgets that people can use in their own car, might be better than those offered by the car manufacturers.

He also felt that HUDs that project information on to the windscreen reduce distractions for drivers, helping them keep their eyes on the road rather than looking down at instruments and so are likely to become more popualar and necessary.

Garmin have said that the HUD will cost around $130, with regional maps being available through the Garmin app for$30 each.

[Image via wordlesstech]