Head-up display (HUD) is a latest technology, developed to assist drivers and pilots to view dashboard data in their field of view. This technology enables users to receive important messages or required information while driving or flying, thus ensuring their safety. HUD systems are satisfying the security, safety, comfort and entertainment requirements of its users. HUDs are widely used in commercial and defence airplanes, automobiles and gaming applications. In airplanes, HUDs display the information regarding position, radar information, flight path, acceleration and real-time position, which helps pilots to react in time. This innovation has slowly made its way into the automotive industry and is currently being considered among the most prominent driver assistance systems.
Previously HUDs were developed using cathode ray tube (CRT) technology, but now they are available with liquid-crystal display (LCD) technology. Advancements in personal digital assistant (PDA) devices and smartphones have triggered the development of HUD technology, as these small electronic gadgets or components can be used to complement improved HUD for various other applications. Besides these advancements, new prototypes have been developed for implementing this technology in two-wheeler helmets and on-board diagnostic features, thus opening up new scope for applications. There are various advantages of HUD. It allows drivers and pilots to concentrate on their path and simultaneously read any important operational information on display, minimizes the possibility of accidents and provides easy access to information. A major concern for head-up display is that it may create a distraction while driving, if a text or voice message is flashed incessantly. In the automobile industry, such devices are supported by portable multimedia which can read or display emails, which too can cause distraction.
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Major factors driving the growth of HUD market include an increasing awareness about active safety systems in automobile and aircraft business and the increasing demands of premium and luxury cars, as HUD acts as a value-added feature for these cars. HUD technology is still in its initial stage of development, hence requires a huge amount of investment on research &development activities, which is a restraining factor for new entrants to enter the market.
Market segmentation of head-up displays can be done on the basis of region, components, technology and applications. Geographically, the HUD market can be divided into four regions – North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Japan, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Middle East & Africa Europe is the leader in global HUD market. By components, it’s further segmented into projection unit, video generator, display panels, combiners and others. HUDs were primarily used in military and civil aviation, but now used by the automobile industry too. Apart from these applications, it’s also used in aerospace technology. Technological segmentation includes optical waveguides, LED and cathode ray tube technologies.
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At present, the penetration of this technology is below5% in the automobile industry, but the market for this technology is expected to grow rapidly in the near future due to a growing awareness on safe driving. The market is expected to grow at a double-digit rate in the coming Six years. Some of the major players are Recon Instruments, Toshiba Electronics, Continental and Johnson Controls. Recon Instruments received a significant amount of investment from Intel Capital, which they utilized for marketing, product development and global sales expansion activities. Continental, another key player in the HUD market, recently introduced an augmented reality head-up display (AR-HUD), the next step in the evolution of the HMI (human machine interface), which works as facilitator between drivers and vehicles. Product development and innovation is the common marketing strategy used by key players in this market.