Will Pioneer's new heads-up displays make roads safer?

The ND-HUD10 might cut down on distracted-driver injuries, or it could create more

Looking through Pioneer's heads up display will give drivers navigation information so that they don't have to take their eyes off the road to look at a GPS device.

Looking through Pioneer's heads up display will give drivers navigation information so that they don't have to take their eyes off the road to look at a GPS device.

Pioneer updated its line of HUDs (heads-up displays), and it hopes the in-car gadgets will help keep drivers' eyes on the road instead of on a GPS device or other electronics.

See video of the new ND-HUD10 in a report on YouTube.

The ND-HUD10 will be out later this month in Europe for 600 Euro and in Japan for 60,000 Yen. It builds on older models and is the most compact yet. It is meant to be mounted inside the car, just above the windshield. The projection unit inside the HUD projects GPS and other information onto a small piece of clear plastic just in front of the driver's eyes. It's intended to overlay navigation information so that drivers don't have to take their eyes off the road to look down at a GPS unit. It also displays other information, such as the time and the vehicle's speed.

Distracted driving, whether due to texting, talking, or glancing down at a GPS device, has accounted for thousands of deaths. In the U.S. in 2011, more than 3,000 people were killed and nearly 400,000 injured because of distracted driving, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The HUD does have a drawback, which is mainly related to how the device is positioned. There is a very small vertical range where information is visible to drivers. If the HUD is a little too high or a little too low, drivers may not be able to see the display. Adjusting the HUD, or moving around to see the display, could be a distraction in itself.

Pioneer also introduced the ND-HUD2, which will be available only in Japan for 100,000 yen.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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