Japan’s Pioneer Corporation is planning to release its first head-up display product that will used by the major car makers in Detroit by the year 2016. Pioneer’s head-up display is based on Microvision’s novel display technology that has the capability to project visual data on windshields and the driver’s view of the road. Microvision’s displays are more vibrant, compact and efficient – thanks to its image projector that uses semiconductor lasers and a microscopic mirror.

Contrary to most existing heads-up display that generate images using LCDs, Microvision’s own technology uses a set of three lasers and a single millimeter-wide silicon mirror that will tilt on two axes. Essentially, the three lasers (red, green and blue) will be mixed to create the final pixel color. Lasers will emit line on the mirror while it rapidly scans both vertically and horizontally, thus, able to project an image on a windshield one pixel at a time. And since this happens so fast, the image projected will appear static.

Pioneer’s head-up display has already been considered to operate in some concept cars. Lance Evans, Microvision’s director of business development said that the falling prices of green lasers is a significant cost component of the display and that should make their technology competitive as well. If things go as planned, cars in the next couple of years will be equipped with one these head-up displays. It will be great to have one on a self-driving car.

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