JLR and Stellantis invest in British car tech firm driving the future of head-up displays
Big firms join Hyundai and GM as investors in expert holographic head-up display firm Envisics
British tech firm Envisics has attracted major investment from Jaguar Land Rover and Stellantis in its latest investment round. It’ll help the company expand and continue its work producing augmented reality, holographic head-up display units for cars.
The Milton Keynes-based company, which featured in Auto Express issue 1,742, has already received funding from Hyundai and US giant General Motors, which will be the first to use the new technology in its 2024 Cadillac Lyriq model.
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Stellantis has long been an admirer of Envisics with the British company winning the Automotive Tech category in the Stellantis Startup Awards in 2022. Jaguar Land Rover, meanwhile, was the first automaker to realise the potential of Envisics’ Holographic technology for head-up displays and was the first OEM customer of the technology.
Speaking to Auto Express last year, CEO of Envisics Jamie Christmas explained his company’s tech. “What we tend to see on our movie screens is pure science fiction, it’s not holography,” he said. “And what we often see in real life isn’t holographic, it’s basically a transparent screen with an image projected onto it. That’s really what’s happening with a conventional head-up display.
“What we’re doing, really is holography; moving information through 3D space. That has some significant advantages – it all stems from the fact that we can mess with the speed of light.
“The benefits are you can place the instrument cluster at exactly the right distance to ensure you’re always accommodating people’s vision and enhancing their situational awareness.
“But more importantly it means you can place alerts – particularly when you’re trying to enhance people’s awareness of hazards in the urban environment – at the same location in space. So, there’s no focus adoption, there’s no ‘where’s that supposed to be?’. It actually puts the information where it’s meant to be, so you immediately understand and recognise the hazards around you. Other systems simply don’t do that.”
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Envisics is also smaller and easier to package into a dashboard than traditional head-up display systems and draws less power.
Augmented head-up display units are set to become commonplace in cars in the coming years, helping to reduce the amount of in-car real estate dedicated to digital displays. “I think we’ve reached ‘peak screen’ in a car,” Christmas told us. The market is set to grow from 1.6 million units in 2022 to 19.1 million in 2023.
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