“We think of it as much more than a new display,” said Doug Simpson, CEO of Navdy, a heads-up navigation display that takes everything you care about on your phone — navigation, text messages, calls, music control and assorted notifications — and projects them onto a small, transparent display in front of your windshield. Navdy also tells you how fast you’re driving or how much fuel is in the tank, without making you look down at your instrument panel or dashboard. “We deliver an entirely new experience,” Simpson added. He hopes the small device will change how drivers use tech while driving.
The experience starts on your smartphone with the Navdy app (iOS and Android compatible), where drivers find and route their trips. The smartphone automatically connects to the Navdy device, which is just a little bigger than the average hand and can be moved to another car with ease. (It mounts magnetically; no screws involved.)
What’s the Future of Commuting and Driving?
“There are a couple billion of cars and trucks around the world and the reality is there are only a couple million new cars and trucks sold every year. If every car sold tomorrow was an autonomous car, it would still take about 20 years to upgrade the installed base of cars. So we think over the next 20 years there’s going to be a mix of autonomous, semi-autonomous and traditional cars on the road — that’s important to think about because there’s also a need along the path to autonomous cars to get consumers to think about the technology and get them comfortable with that.” – Doug Simpson, CEO of Navdy
Navdy’s informative projections appear on a small pane of glass, projected in such a way as to appear six feet in the distance, similar to how video headsets or VR devices give the illusion of playing “big-screen” movies centimeters from your eyes. In this way, it’s similar to augmented reality — just your normal view, with more info. Simpson said it’s more than 40 times brighter than the iPhone’s display, and it adjusts brightness based the surrounding ambient light conditions.
Drivers can interface with the device in a few ways, but gestures are the primary means. Navdy developed its own gesture-recognition system, with which a driver can swipe left or right to answer or dismiss a call. For more complicated tasks, like changing settings or scrolling through a list of recent destinations, there’s the Navdy Dial, a small, circular wireless controller that attaches to the steering wheel. It’s composed of a single button and a simple rubber dial to zoom in and out of a map or scroll through contacts. The device also serves as a microphone for virtual assistants; you can ask Google Assistant or Siri to help find music, read or reply to texts, or make and answer calls.
Navdy comes integrated with both Google Maps and HERE WeGo and uses its own GPS. Simpson claims that its locational accuracy is better than that of a smartphone. If the GPS signal is lost — say, when driving through a tunnel — Navdy’s offline maps ensure that the device can still guide you. Navdy can also update maps with live traffic reports when synced with a smartphone’s LTE signal, and, if you car has an OBD port, it can use it to relay your fuel level, speed and mileage. Navdy will even ask drivers if they’d like it to find a gas station, and pick out options along the current route.
Here’s the only caveat: Navdy is an $800 device that provides drivers with essentially the same information they already have on their smartphones, just in a more comfortable format. Simpson said this isn’t a problem. “Once people have experienced it, they’re not sure how they live without it,” he said. “Everything is presented in one immersive experience, directly in front of you. You’re no longer staring down into your phone, dashboard, center console; everything is there within your field of view. And we think it’s a dramatically better experience than anything that’s been offered before.”
For a limited time, Navdy can be purchased for as low as $33/month through 24 months with zero percent financing.