Smart Glasses (AR Glasses)

Smart glasses are becoming a new feature of the vehicle. But what are AR glasses actually for in a vehicle? The driver can use the smart glasses to perceive augmented reality elements, be it navigation symbols, infotainment controls or multimedia viewing.

With the onset of electromobility and the unprecedented expansion of Chinese automakers, innovations are emerging that just a few years ago no one expected in connection with automotive industry. For example, the so-called smart glasses.

The Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Nio, in collaboration with the company Nreal, specializing in augmented reality technologies, has introduced glasses to the market called NIO Air AR Glasses. NIO Air Glasses are augmented reality (AR) glasses that provide customers of the NIO brand with an affordable augmented reality experience directly inside their vehicles. Of course, augmented reality glasses can be used for purposes other than just in the vehicle, but given the focus of these pages, we will mention this use primarily.

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that combines the real world with digital elements through various devices such as smartphones, tablets, or special AR glasses. This technology allows users to perceive the real world around them and insert virtual objects, information, or interactive elements into it in real time. However, these elements are purely digital and visible only through special glasses or, for example, a phone display.

Augmented Reality (AR) - illustrative image 

AR can be used in various areas, including entertainment, education, industry, healthcare, and many others. For example, in the entertainment industry, augmented reality (AR) can place virtual characters into real environments. In industry, AR is used, for example, for worker training, equipment repairs, or to improve process efficiency.

The idea of using augmented reality in a car was first introduced by William Li, CEO of Chinese company Nio, in December 2021. At that time, it still sounded like a distant future, but Nio has brought this idea into a functional commercial form. Time will show what further expansion and application this technology will find.

Smart glasses (AR Glasses) - Nio 

How do smart glasses work in a car?

Augmented reality glasses allow the vehicle’s occupants to combine real space with inserted digital objects. In other words, through AR glasses, a person sees the real space around them, which is augmented with a digital object. This object can be a virtual screen projecting a movie, virtual navigation arrows, or even virtual controls for the infotainment system. The vehicle’s audio system is used to provide sound for this entire virtual scene. Control can be done by voice or various hand gestures.

The Nio Air glasses are designed specifically for use in the car. For this reason, they have a higher screen brightness, glare protection, a function to eliminate shakes during vehicle movement, and offer hours of immersive movie experience. The new service from NIO is linked to an extensive film library and is called PanoCinema.

Users can control various vehicle functions in addition to movies when using augmented reality glasses. Controlling virtual controls is possible using a ring called NIO Air Ring, or through voice with the service NOMI, or with the help of a phone and special mobile application.

The use of virtual glasses in the vehicle is still non-standard and new. To a certain extent it can be considered unnecessary, but on the other hand, if people are forced to spend more and more time in the car, for example, while charging the vehicle or while driving autonomously, this technology has a great future!

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