In many works of science fiction, from books to film, you’d be hard-pressed to not come across some sort of augmented reality. From glasses and goggles to cell phones and viewing screens, writers and filmmakers regularly lean on AR to express a futuristic aesthetic. In the real world, engineers have tried to recreate those futuristic objects and vehicle concepts regularly include AR features that are eventually scrapped. As consumers are treated to functioning self-driving cars, though, it’s not unrealistic to think an AR standard is right around the corner and Panasonic’s self-driving concept is next up with AR displays and a 4k tablet table.
At CES in January, Panasonic shared a concept for a car’s interior that fully invested in the self-driving vehicle experience. It has a driver and co-pilot seat with seating in the rear, but the two front seats can completely turn around to share a table with the rear passengers. The idea is, while the autonomous car pilots you to your destination, you and friends and family can have a comfortable social experience inside without having to pay the road any mind. If conversation among the crew isn’t enough, you can turn on the Connected Interactive Table (CIT) that’s made up of four 4k touchscreen tablets that can be used independently or combine for digital board games.
In addition, the side windows have AR displays that show weather information and details on local points-of-interest as you travel. They also showed off the electric Renault Twizy concept that included an augmented portion in the front windshield, so their engineers are definitely experimenting with different ways to add a new layer to the glass in their vehicles. There’s no reason a future concept couldn’t include both forms of AR and it’s going to be interesting to see if Panasonic can ever implement their autonomous cockpit ideas with a car manufacturer and drive us right into the fictional future we’ve watched and read for years. For another example of vehicles being the center piece in AR/VR experiences, check out Audi’s utilization of VR to promote their new car.