Matthew Rose

Matthew Rose

The head-up display, otherwise know as HUD and used in jet fighter aircraft for decades, is now becoming popular in mass produced cars. It enhances the overall driving experience by allowing drivers to keep their 'eyes on the road' while still viewing critical vehicle data. It projects a visual image at a distance of about 2-metres in front of the driver. In this interview, Matthew Beecham talked with Matthew Rose, Global Automotive Market Manager, Eastman Chemical about the blossoming HUD market.

How do you see the US market for HUDs shaping up in terms of OEM adoption? And do you see the HUD becoming more important as a route to prevent distracting the driver too much?

Both the US and global HUD market are in the midst of tremendous growth. Over the past several years, there haven over 20 new adoptions of HUD, as well as several car manufacturers launching their first model equipped with HUD and all market indicators suggest that growth trend will continue going forward. HUD systems enhance the overall driving experience by allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road while still viewing critical vehicle data, minimising driver distraction. With the increased adoption of active safety features such as blind spot detection and lane departure warnings along with navigation and smart phone integration, car manufacturers seek to find a way to deliver all of this information to the driver without "overloading" them with information and causing a distraction. HUD systems are emerging as an optimal method to help combat driver distraction.

We hear a lot about tomorrow's windshields and how it will feature 'augmented reality' technology. What is your vision?

I believe that augmented reality is longer-term target that the industry is working towards achieving, as it could enable some interesting features such as spot marking of pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition and road sign information.

How can Eastman support the HUD market?

Eastman helped to pioneer the development of HUD interlayers over 20 years ago and through our experience in working jointly HUD channel partners, we have accumulated a robust understanding of how to enable best-in-class HUD optics performance and ensure the smooth launch of each HUD vehicle programme. Around the world, the industry trusts Eastman when performance and safety are their most critical concerns. The reason for their confidence is simple. No matter what the specifications or performance targets, Saflex interlayer technology delivers advanced glazing performance for demanding HUD applications. Our technical and application development expertise, along with superior product performance and complete portfolio of Saflex-branded PVB HUD interlayers has led the industry to view Eastman as being the global leader in HUD PVB interlayers for automotive applications.

In terms of today's HUD solutions, what are the special characteristics of Eastman's PVB interlayer to realize the HUD function?

Unlike traditional PVB interlayers which have a flat, uniform surface, Saflex acoustic HUD interlayers are made via a proprietary process to create non-parallel surfaces to allow creating a windscreen that provides desired optical correction, resulting in the highest quality projected image in the market. Saflex Q series acoustical HUD is able to deliver the highest quality projected image for each car as well as the additional benefit of cutting wind noise in half.

Traditional glazing has resulted in double images - or 'ghosting' - due to parallel surfaces of glazing. How do you overcome that?

Since windshields are made up of two pieces of glass that are not flat or perpendicular to the driver's eyes, the virtual image must be corrected to ensure that it is sharp and easy to read - that is - no 'ghosting or double imaging effects'. A HUD system utilises the optical combining characteristics of HUD interlayer to provide a single focused virtual image appearing near the front of the vehicle.

Do the electronics of the HUD system somehow compensate for the wedge-shaped PVB angle that may not be completely optimally adjusted?

The remainder of this interview is available on just-auto's QUBE glazing research service