WayRay Debuts Holographic Navigation System for Vehicles

The Swiss startup is focusing on the advancement of connected car telematics, in partnership with Orange Business Services.

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Connected car specialist WayRay announced the launch of Navion, an augmented-reality navigation system that projects holographic GPS imagery and driver notifications onto the windshield of a car.

WayRay Element is a smart tracker that can be plugged into the diagnostics port of any automobile for monitoring driver performance, safety and fuel efficiency.

The Swiss startup is focusing on the advancement of connected car telematics, in partnership with Orange Business Services, a B2B global telecom operator and IT solutions integrator.

Element is essentially a wearable for your car. It plugs into the on-board diagnostics connector of any car model after 1992 to track driver performance, trip history, costs, fuel usage, location and the overall health of the automobile.

This information is all visualized and made accessible through one's smartphone, tablet or PC. Built into the device is an automated driving coach app that analyzes the data to offer steps for improving driving skills.

"Nowаdays holographic navigation is the only way to safely navigate anywhere, but especially in unfamiliar places. Navion has at least two significant advantages over traditional GPSes, HUDs and other turn-by-turn navigators that exist in in-car IVIs and smartphones," Vitaly Ponomarev, CEO and founder of WayRay, told eWEEK. "First, holography is the only technology for applying the augmented-reality principle, which is essential for creating a realistic sense of navigation in real life. This eliminates the distraction of refocusing the eyesight between a 2D image and reality. This distraction is dangerous and inconvenient for the driver."

Ponomarev explained the second advantage is absolute precision navigation, which is achieved by the Inertial Hub subsystem—a number of sensors, including a camera, accelerometers and gyroscopes.

Orange Business Services is supplying wireless connectivity and service management across WayRay's entire U.S. fleet, which allows cars employing Navion and Element to receive, send, track and display data.

The scope of Orange's international network ensures 24/7 access anywhere in the United States with an option that would allow WayRay to expand to other regions, such as Asia and Europe.

"Consumer electronics in the car industry is very sensitive to stability," Ponomarev said. "What we liked in the Orange M2M sector was the highly developed approach for companies and services similar to ours. Everything was ready and waiting for us."

The image overlays the real road with the virtual route line so that drivers won't have to refocus their eyes to the windshield or to be distracted by looking to their embedded GPS.

"Inevitably, navigation will become merged with the digital infrastructure. We believe that the Smart City concept means vehicle navigation and automated traffic systems interacting and working together," Ponomarev said. "As for our holographic displays technology—we see lots of potential applications to be developed in other consumer electronics areas, especially in the gaming industry and in future workspaces and living spaces."