On Tuesday, Navdy announced that it is now taking pre-orders for a heads-up display (HUD) that sits on a car dashboard and is powered by the on-board computer available in all cars since 1996. This gadget, costing $299 now as an introductory offer, projects a transparent image directly within your field of view, making glances down at your smartphone while driving a thing of the past.
"Smartphones were never designed to be used while driving," said Navdy co-founder and CEO Doug Simpson. "Touchscreen-based apps force you to take your eyes off the road. So we started by completely rethinking what the experience of using apps behind the wheel should be like. Navdy is built from the ground up to be the safest and most intuitive way to make calls, use navigation, listen to music or access notifications without ever looking away from the road."
According to the specifications, the Navdy device includes a 5.1-inch transparent HUD and a high-quality projector. It also includes an IR camera for touchless gesture control, Wireless N and Bluetooth LE 4.0 connectivity, and a dual-core SoC powering Android 4.4 "KitKat." Audio output can be provided via Bluetooth or a 3.5 mm minijack.
The specifications also show that the Navdy HUD includes an accelerometer, an e-compass and an ambient light sensor. There is also an internal speaker, a microphone with noise-canceling DSP, and an OBD-II power and data connector for tapping into the car's computer. The base is a bendable, portable, non-marking powered friction mount, which magnetically connects to the device.
When in use, the HUD will project an image that appears to be six feet in front of the driver, which comes in handy when traveling through Los Angeles for the first time and experiencing the chaos that is called "traffic congestion." According to the company, this is the same technology that airplane pilots use to keep their eyes on the runway when landing a plane.
"You never need to look away from the road while using Navdy," the press release said on Tuesday. "Glance-able apps are controlled with intuitive touch-less hand gestures, while voice recognition lets you ask for directions. Navdy's noise cancellation technology and wide angle gesture sensors are specifically designed to create an optimal driving experience."
Navdy works with navigation apps like Google Maps for turn-by-turn navigation. Navdy can also be an entertainment hub, compatible with popular apps such as Spotify, Pandora, iTunes Music and Google Play Music. Navdy can even read aloud so you're not driving and scrolling through the latest text received on the phone while driving. Despite its Android roots, this device is compatible with iOS 7.0 and later as well as Android 4.3 and later.
Our pals at Tom's Guide have a hands-on demo with the Navdy, which you can check out right here. The company is offering a payment scheme in that when customers purchase Navdy, and a referral (friend, family, co-worker, etc.) purchases a Navdy too, the customer gets $30 back. That means that eventually, the Navdy could be free with enough referrals.
For more information about Navdy, head here.