We, the generation that grew up with video games, will not be happy with our lots until life itself is accompanied by a Heads Up Display (HUD). Wouldn't it be great if key information regarding your condition were constantly displayed in the periphery of your vision? Your health, your bank balance, your energy levels, your heart rate – let's gamify life!
That day will doubtlessly come, but until then we'll have to make do with the increasingly sophisticated HUDs that are seemingly in the process of becoming standard in cars.
MINI are the latest manufacturers to introduce HUDs into their cars, and their version is as snazzy and innovative as you might imagine.
MINI Connected has, since its launch, provided drivers with unprecedented access to apps and services, providing all of their infotainment needs in one neat and intuitive package.
And the good news is that the technology is only going to get better.
As part of the BMW Group, MINI are but a part of a long heritage of innovations in infotainment technology. Over the past 40 years, the BMW Group have pioneered radar-based distance warning devices (1972), on-board computers with exterior temperature displays (1980), the first European vehicle-integrated navigation system (1993) and, still unique to this day, the first Emergency Call system, introduced in 1997.
Apple iPhone integration has been a feature of the MINI operating system since 2007, and app support was introduced in 2011. So what's next for these irrepressible stalwarts of progress and innovation?
The MINI head-up display may not be the first system of it kind, but it's nice to see that such technology is becoming the norm.
The idea behind HUDs is that drivers can keep their eyes on the road at all times. Because relevant information is displayed directly in their line of vision, they can conceivably conduct an entire journey without ever having to avert their eyes.
Clearly, then, HUDs have a positive impact upon road safety, but for MINI, it goes much further than preventing distractions. Amongst the information displayed are collision and pedestrian alerts. These, combined with the city braking function, offer a great example of how technology can make superior drivers of all of us.
Further innovations to be found in the latest MINI driver assistance systems are a parking assist feature, a reversing camera, video-based speed and distance control and a speed limit information system which detects and displays speed limits in real-time.
Some people might resent such arguably intrusive driver assistance. But if it leads to safer roads and more alert and adaptable drivers, who's complaining?