Could this app put a heads-up display in every car?


Want to turn your car's windscreen into a 3D satellite navigation display? There's an app for that.

A Russian start-up has designed an app that let's users project their journey directly on to their windscreen from their smartphone. Drivers first download their route, then place their smartphone on the dashboard with the screen facing up. The app will then be displayed on the windscreen.

But there's a catch: it only works in dark and low visibility conditions.

Hudway - which only started in 2013 - is looking to improve the product. Co-founder and CEO Ivan Klabukov told CNBC the company is going to sell a piece of hardware through crowdfunding site Kickstarter this year that will let users use their smartphone to project images on the windscreen at any time of day. And the big selling point: price.

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"More and more cars are having head-up displays (HUD) and consumers want to use head up display but cannot afford a BMW and other luxury cars. That is why we came up with this idea. It cost $49," Klabukov told CNBC at the CeBit tech fair in Hannover, Germany on Monday.

The piece of hardware - called Hudway Glass- is a 3D-printed screen that projects the image from a smartphone out in front of a driver's field of view. The aim is that stop people looking at their phone while driving and prevent accidents.

Hudway is not alone in the HUD market as users look for increasingly connected features in their vehicles. Automakers such as BMW and Mercedes have systems built in but these cars alone and the solutions are expensive.

A U.S. company called Navdy launched a product last year which plugs into the car's computer and connects to a smartphone via bluetooth. Users can then answer calls hands-free, see text messages, and navigate routes through the HUD. It works using a small projector built into the display and the retail price is $499.

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Hudway's device in contrast would not need to be plugged in and doesn't use an expensive projector. It merely amplifies the contents of the smartphone screen onto the windscreen through the way the Hudway Glass is designed, making HUD satellite navigation affordable, Klabukov said.

The app is currently free to download on both iOS and Android - with a "pro" version that gives users the ability to get voice assisted navigation and no ads. Drivers currently have to use Apple Maps or Google Maps, but Klabukov said the company is now looking to build its own navigation software to sell to major car manufacturers.

"Big car manufacturers have very good solution but this is embedded into the car and you can't take it into any other car and it costs $1,000 minimum," Klabukov said.

"They are moving too slow for the global market. Every second car will have a HUD. Our aim is to be as the software in these cars in five years."