Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has invested $18 million in WayRay that makes augmented reality (AR) technology for cars.
The start-up has developed an AR navigation system called Navion in which directions are shown on the windshield in a transparent holographic display, so the driver does not have to take their eyes off the road to look at the navigation system display thus holds an edge over traditional HUDs [head up displays]. The company plans to release a consumer version of Navion this year.
Right now WayRay is the only developer that integrates augmented reality systems into cars.The company has entered into a strategic partnership with Banma Technologies. According to the agreement, WayRay will work closely with the consortium to create an advanced AR human-machine interface that would integrate augmented reality navigation, driving assistance notifications, a virtual dashboard.
The new system will be built into one of Banma’s 2018 car models, which will be the world’s first vehicle in production with a holographic AR HUD.