Augmented Automakers

Big automakers are pouring cash into Envisics Inc., the UK augmented reality startup they see as a key piece in the transition to autonomous vehicles. The investment arms of GM and SAIC (the largest chinese automaker), Hyundai Mobis and other investors drove $50 million into the company’s Series B.

The Road Ahead is literally what Envisics technology helps the driver see by inserting a chip near the car’s instrument cluster and projecting a hologram of graphics and information on the windshield.

The tool is already being used in certain Land Rover and Range Rover models, and will be implemented in GM’s soon to be released Cadillac Lyriq SUV.  SAIC will also begin to implement the technology in some of its cars.

Driving Change

This augmented reality technology will be important in the transition to autonomous vehicles. Helping drivers understand how the autonomous system operates allows drivers to better take over in the event of a pedestrian or road feature the car is not properly attuned to. The hybrid approach also eases comfort of car owners and regulators making the transition.

Zoom Zoom Out… The shift to autonomous vehicles has been slower than some would like but that has not dampened the enthusiasm of legacy automakers investing in emerging technologies. GM and others have invested $7 billion into self-driving startup Cruise and Porsche recently led an $80 million round into WayRay, another augmented reality startup.