The Stuttgart-based car manufacturer Porsche wants to break new ground in navigation systems and invests in the Swiss start-up WayRay. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the company develops and produces holographic augmented reality head-up display technologies and works to “seamlessly integrate virtual objects into the driving experience”. A real AR experience in the car, without special glasses or headsets.
“Navion’s True AR” is a virtual world around the car that moves and changes constantly in sync with the route. The information displayed in True AR is seamlessly integrated into the real world, allowing the driver to concentrate on the road without looking back at the navigation system display, making driving safer.
Navion features an integrated Full HD camera that continuously captures the environment while tracking the vehicle’s interior position. This process is called SLAM, simultaneous localization and mapping.
The core of the system is the holographic optical element produced by WayRay, a photopolymer film that retains the properties of a periodic nanostructure after the recording process.
Control navigation by simple gestures
Navion responds to simple gestures so the driver can execute commands without looking at the dashboard. With gesture control, the driver can safely browse the menu, select or change routes, and select relevant locations such as banks and the like. As with conventional navigation systems, the mobile Navion app also allows you to set routes, save favourite places and track the vehicle’s position.
“The WayRay team has unique technical expertise with sound backgrounds in space travel, hardware and software development,” says Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Financial Officer of Porsche. “It has been shown that WayRay’s innovative ideas and products have enormous potential. We are convinced that we will be able to offer our customers typical Porsche solutions on this basis in the future. This is why we have decided to make a strategic investment”.
Porsche joins WayRay in the current, advanced financing round as strategic lead investor and acquires shares in WayRay alongside Hyundai Motor, JVC-Kenwood and various funds and thus positions itself alongside investors such as Alibaba. The cooperation between WayRay and Porsche originated within the framework of the innovation platform “Startup Autobahn” and will now be continued strategically “in order to actively promote the future technology and its applications for the automotive industry”, says Porsche.
WayRay currently employs around 250 people, has its headquarters in Zurich and offices in Russia, China and the USA. In addition, a production site in Germany is planned for 2019. Compared to conventional head-up displays, WayRay offers a much smaller projection system that can be installed in any vehicle, regardless of the interior design.
The technology is currently being tested not only for drivers, but also for passengers. It also has potential for new concepts in the context of highly automated driving. WayRay’s technology also offers the possibility of displaying these offers visually in the windscreen.
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