TOKYO -- Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp. has developed a head-up display it hopes to sell to U.S. carmakers, as the front-and-center safety feature gains traction.
During a short test drive here, the dash-mounted transparent screen created a jet-fighter feeling by providing traffic and vehicle information in the driver's field of view. No more jittery glances to the side and down to read from the center stack's audio-navigation screen.
Panasonic's display rests in front of the steering wheel, but its image appears to float about four feet out ahead. That's the point: Head-up displays save drivers from craning their necks, and they go easier on the eyes.
When drivers flutter their eyes from the road to the center stack and back, they have to readjust the focal point. That refocusing takes precious time and can strain one's vision. Head-up displays project the data several feet ahead, so there is much less refocusing when the driver steals a glance.