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How Augmented Reality Windshields Could Transform Driving

A proposal from J. Mayer H wins Audi's Urban Future Award.

Self-navigating cars, small streets and a city crawling with information is architect Jurgen Mayer H.'s winning idea for Audi's Urban Future Award, announced this week at the Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy. Audi's Urban Future competition tapped six firms—also included were Alison Brooks Architects, BIG, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Cloud 9 and Standardarchitecture—to imagine mobility and urbanism in the city of 2030. The winning concept, by J. Mayer H. Architects focused on a future where navigating an urban environment is no longer the headache-inducing, traffic-snarling norm—and driving will actually be an entirely pleasant experience.

Fast forward the video to 3:25 to see the part about the concept.

In 2030, says Mayer H., cars will be hybrid mobility devices which drive themselves. To maximize efficiency, we'll share these vehicles, which will pick up and drop off passengers as effortlessly as a taxi. And since drivers will not have to worry themselves with such silly things as safety and directions, the car itself can become an interactive, immersive experience.

Think of it like Ford's integrated dash technology Sync, merged with your iPhone's favorite augmented reality app, blown up across the entire windshield. Information about historic architecture, real estate values, or local amenities can be easily accessed to help passengers learn more about their cities.

Due to the blissful flow of vehicles that can drop passengers off and drive themselves to their next destination, there will also be no more need for parking spaces. Thus, says Mayer H., once-invaded pedestrian areas will regain their lost space from cars. Those super-narrow streets with ultra-wide sidewalks will become a reality. Signage, which only exists to help guide humans through busy streets, will no longer be needed, de-cluttering the urban environment.

J. Mayer H. is known for its trippy computer generated forms and experimental materials. Check out more of their work here.

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  • Nate O'Shaughnessey

    ...if you're rich I'd assume...
    I drive a 20yr old vehicle i bought for $900. Only the bare minimums even work any more. I fix anything that does break on it. Isn't that green also? not just tossing our vehicles every few years? A replacement windshield now costs ~$200-300 installed, how much would one of these cost? I'd guess $1k+ And, we're assuming the technology will not hiccup when it gets older... a hiccup on system like this could leave you stranded, or worse if the circumstances were wrong.
    What about bicyclists, aren't we suppossed to be doing more of that in dense urban environments? won't walkers and bicyclers need road signs and all that?
    I like to think of ideas like this as more like waching formula one racing. The actual technology they use is mind-bogglingly expensive anc complicated, nobody but the ultra rich ever see more than a morsel of the technology, but since they are pushing the envelope far past practicality, occassionaly something useful does come out of it for the rest of us.
    So, I am glad they're dreaming, i just hope our governments do try to get us all to buy into it... and make no mistake, buying in to the technology will be far harder to figure out than how to make the technology. Sure, some people could have all this, but most couldn't afford it, so you couldn't do away with the navigation infrastructure and everything else they're proposing.

    Great article, interesting technology but I wouldn't go out and buy stock in the companies that produce the equipment or technology just yet...