What is augmented reality used for? What are its advantages in the mobility sector? How can augmented reality technology overcome the safety of self-driving cars?
The benefits of augmented reality in the mobility sector
As a reminder, the augmented reality integrates the simulated world with the real world. A phone or tablet is usually essential. Indeed, the camera of these tools must be pointed at the point of interest in order to generate a live video animation on the screen. This information can be instructions, navigation information, miscellaneous data… In the sector of mobility, augmented reality is most often used to guide travelers. Indeed, today information comes to them in real time and in a personalized way. For example, dynamic and interactive displays have replaced digital panels and GPS.
Immersive technologies therefore first transformed everyday uses, before giving rise to more futuristic applications. We can see that projects have made mobility more inclusive: for example, the University of Los Angeles has simplified the movement of visually impaired people in the city. For this, the researchers developed a prototype glasses incorporating augmented reality technology. This connected accessory projects bright colors on users’ retinas to warn them of the presence of obstacles in their path.
The best-known companies in the mobility sector are WayRay and General Motor, which have imagined and designed a windshield equipped with augmented reality. It should be noted that each one has specific particularities but the final objective is similar: to provide the user with the information projected on the windshield that he needs to drive in the safest possible way. The primary purpose of augmented reality is to promote interactions between passengers and the external environment. The user can thus be informed about relevant traffic information and places likely to interest him. Augmented reality can also be used in public transport. In Paris, the RATP provided an augmented reality application to access waiting times and line traffic information. Augmented reality has enabled great advances in the field of mobility: safety, improved driving, passenger entertainment, information for travellers, etc.
Augmented reality and autonomous vehicles
As a reminder, the autonomous or automated car designates a vehicle capable of driving without a driver on an open road. We rarely speak of an unmanned automobile, an automatic car or a driverless (intelligent) vehicle. Today the autonomous vehicle is greatly questioned. Thus, Google has given up the development of the production of its Google Car (autonomous car developed by Google), in order to form partnerships with established car manufacturers.
Augmented reality makes it possible to assist the driver and ask him to intervene only in the event of immediate danger. Indeed, the addition of virtual elements visible to the human eye on a scene filmed in real time can make it possible to send a signal so that the driver intervenes. This complete autonomy has been called into question several times given the accidents that have occurred.
Different levels of autonomy have been established, they vary from “0: no autonomy. to “5: full autonomy”. Augmented reality intervenes rather on level 3 which is a partial autonomy. This means that the vehicle is able to “visualize” (thanks to cameras and radars) the driving environment and react accordingly. This also allows you to understand the dangers, accelerations, overtaking, traffic in traffic jams… Semi-autonomous cars are capable of performing many tasks. The driver can briefly take his eyes off the road but must be able to resume driving without delay when the vehicle signals that he is unable to handle certain situations.
The limits of augmented reality
As far as the mobility sector is concerned, the augmented reality ecosystem can sometimes pose problems of different kinds (legal, social, societal, etc.). The development of this technology has a cost and its maintenance also requires resources. We have seen that the lack of privacy is a major drawback of augmented reality. It must also be taken into account that the infrastructures and the environment are not always suitable and that this slows down the development of augmented reality.
In conclusion, all of these obstacles prevent certain projects from seeing the light of day and users are also less inclined to turn to augmented reality. Augmented reality today is more of a driving aid, whether the vehicle is autonomous or not. The aim is to compensate for inattentive errors by the driver and to make better use of his ability to detect dangers for the car and people in the passenger compartment.
This augmented reality has potential. In the coming years, it will accompany our daily lives and this in different sectors of everyday life. The development of augmented reality has a secure future thanks to the increase in technologies on smartphones and tablets.