Nissan has unveiled a concept that can "see the invisible" at CES 2019. The technology uses virtual reality, in-vehicle sensors, and connected car technologies to create a virtual world around the visible world for the driver. Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) shows how VR can be used to enhance driver awareness.
The system tracks objects and traffic around the car in real time, using inputs from the car's sensors as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure information. It then projects a vision of that – over top of the real world – in a virtual reality display that gives the driver more information.
The object is to help the driver stay aware of those things that are either out of sight or just on the edge of vision. Items such as passing vehicles, pedestrians or vehicles behind obstructions are displayed for the driver in a "see through" VR display in real time.
"By helping you see the invisible, I2V enhances your confidence and makes driving more enjoyable," said Tetsuro Ueda, an expert in the Nissan Research Center. "The interactive features create an experience that's tailored to your interests and driving style so that anyone can enjoy it in their own way."
Using the sensors already in play for tech like Nissan's ProPilot system, the I2V can map a 360-degree view of the spaces around the car. It can also monitor those inside the vehicle to keep the driver alert and focused on driving.
It's additionally possible for the I2V system to project images of people into the car. For example, a video conference call can become an in-car call without the need to stare at the device screen. Instead, the projection of the conversant(s) appears naturally within the vehicle via the I2V glasses. This can extend to local guides and navigation prompts, and other real or imagined needs. These aids can be recorded and re-used later by those also using the I2V system in their own vehicles.
The uses for I2V are limited only to the imagination. A real-time professional driver, virtually on board, could help with driving instruction or improvement. The outside world can be virtually shown to the driver in such a way that blind corners are no longer blind, vehicles coming around a larger one and cutting in front are no longer a surprise, etc. It can even scan for open parking spaces and help the driver park the vehicle in them.
Through artificial intelligence, Nissan hopes to make the I2V system even more useful by having it anticipate what's needed and add that to the experience. The goal is to reduce stress on the driver, improve safety, and add to the driving experience overall. The video below shows how some of this is accomplished with Nissan's Invisible-to-Visible tech.
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