What is a Head-Up Display and is it Worth the Money?

Technological advancements in cars have led to changes in the way information is delivered. Analog gauges are gradually but surely being replaced with screens, which display everything from your car speed to a full map of the area you are driving in. 

One notable feature in these changes is the Head-Up Display- a tech feature that was once reserved for the exclusive luxury brands in the market but is now becoming mainstream. But what exactly is a HUD, and should you pay to have one fitted inside your car?

What is a Head-Up Display?

A head-up display is a gadget that projects essential driving information onto the windshield of your car. The information appears superimposed on the road ahead so that it is in the driver’s field of view. As distracting as this may sound, head-up displays are designed not to be visible when you are not looking at them directly. 

Originally developed for military use during World War II, HUDs were viewed with a lot of skepticism in their earlier days but people soon warmed up to them. Air chiefs realized that pilots with HUDs on their jets had better concentration when flying because they managed to keep their “heads up”, as opposed to constantly glancing at the manual gauges and dials. 

While you cannot compare the demands of flying a military aircraft in the middle of a war with that of driving a car, a HUD can still be a useful feature for many drivers. The idea to introduce them in cars was thought of in the 1970s but the high cost of complex electronics delayed those plans until more recently, thanks to technological advancements. 

How Does a HUD Work?

HUDs display a beam of floating image with information that you’d consider critical while driving on the windscreen ahead. In many cases, these devices will display information such as the speed of the car, directions, cruise control settings, temperature, and much more. 

Essentially, the head-up display projects a reversed image onto your windscreen and this is then reflected straight into the driver’s eye line. Some cars will normally have a strange rectangular shape on the dashboard where the image from the device is projected. 

What are the Two Types of Head-Up Displays?

The most commonly used HUD projects information onto the windshield of the car. Depending on the manufacturer, the system can display parameters like speed and directions to whatever the infotainment system is playing at the time. For car models with a manual transmission, the HUDs feature shift indicators to suggest when to upshift.

For cheaper cars like Mazda, Kia, and Ford, a more affordable HUD option is employed. Here, the information is projected onto a small plastic panel that pops up just above the dashboard and in the driver’s line of view. These two types of HUDs should be an item of consideration in any HUD buying guide!

Do You Really Need a HUD Inside Your Car?

While some skeptics merely view head-up displays as an interesting gimmick, these can actually be a life-saving feature for motorists. They play a crucial role in reducing the number of times a driver has to take his eyes away from the road, helping to prevent possible collisions that may happen in a fraction of a second.

Once you get acclimated to the HUD, it will be hard for you to go back to the analog way of doing things. These devices also allow you to access a wealth of information that tells you about the condition of your car at all times. This is a great way of being proactive about the health of your car so that you provide the appropriate maintenance services in time. 

Furthermore, the HUDs can greatly boost the aesthetics of your car and make it safer for you to drive at night. You won’t have to keep on glancing away from the road when all the information you need is right in front of you!

So, how Much Does a HUD Cost?

 Head-up displays vary in price depending on the design and manufacturer. However, you may have to budget for around $200 if you want this technology in your car. This is the price range for a decent model, although you can find HUDs for under $50

Final Thought

There is a fair share of non-believers when it comes to the functionality of car HUDs, but many motorists swear by them as far as car safety is concerned. While installing one may cost you a couple hundred bucks, this is an investment you won’t end up regretting!


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What is a Head-Up Display and is it Worth the Money?