There is nothing worse than being stuck behind a big lorry. It always seems to happen to me when I’m late for something and it always seems to be on a road that is not wide enough to be able to see round the vehicle to overtake. However Professor Michel Ferreira and his team from the University of Porto in Portugal have come up with an augmented reality system which could potentially solve this problem.

See-Through System

The technology which is called the See-Through System, allows drivers to see through the vehicle that they are following.

With the See-Through System, vehicles such as trucks and buses would have a forward-facing webcam attached to their windshield, whereas cars would have a transparent LCD screen built into their windshield. In the event that a car gets stuck behind one of the larger vehicles, it has the option of wirelessly receiving a live video feed of the view from the windshield camera. This footage is then displayed on the car’s windshield LCD in a such a way that it appears that the driver can see straight through the truck and onto the road ahead.

This enables the driver to get a good view of whether there is any on-coming traffic and decide whether to overtake.

The system has so far been tested in a simulator and in a real vehicle travelling on the road. Although it works, there are few tweaks necessary before it can be released to the mass market. For example as reported in the New Scientist,  there is a 200-millisecond delay in the video transmission, which although doesn’t sound very much, is enough to make an oncoming car appear 10 meters further away (that’s when both cars are travelling at 90km/h).

Interest in this technology was sparked when it was presented at the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality this month.

[Image via YouTube]