Tech

Here's what it looks like to take a joyride using Audi's AR windshield

The Audi Q4 E-Tron will come with a "heads-up" augmented reality display that transforms your windshield into another screen.

Automotive companies are loading their next-gen vehicles up with screens. You’ve got displays in the dashboard, behind the steering wheel, in the back seat, screens that span the entire car, and now, if Audi and other auto titans are to be believed, your windshield is also going to be a type of screen.

Mercedes-Benz's giant Hyperscreen display.

Audi just unveiled the interior of its Q4 E-tron, an upcoming crossover EV set to be released sometime this year. There are a few pretty nifty features built into this crossover SUV, but arguably none are more cutting edge than its “heads-up display” – an augmented reality windshield. And fortunately for us, Audi gave a pretty detailed (if incomplete) preview of what the technology will look like.

Audi's Q4 E-Tron in a red camouflage.
Audi's Q4 E-Tron in a red camouflage.

Audi, like other automakers including AR technology in their next-gen windshields, is positioning the high tech display as a mix between a safety and convenience feature. In a (rendered) video, Audi shows its AR technology doing a couple pretty useful things, including...

The Q4 E-Tron sporting a camouflage finish

Lane recognition

Car tracking

Navigation

Audi’s AR display will be enabled by various sensors equipped to the car that help it track vehicles in real-time, though we can only guess at how functional the display is at this point in production. Illuminating as they are, Audi’s showcase of the AR windshield consists of renderings, as opposed to real life demonstrations.

That doesn’t mean the technology is completely speculative, however. Other automakers like Hyundai have also teased similar technology in their upcoming EVs, including the recently unveiled Ioniq 5, which is slated to be released this year. Similarly to Audi, Hyundai has showed very little of its AR windshield in action.

Interior wise, the Q4 E-Tron looks very Audi...

There are still some outstanding questions about the Q4 E-tron, including how much range it will ultimately have (Audi estimated about 280 miles when the concept was unveiled in 2019) and how much it will ultimately cost, so much like the future of AR windshields, we’re still firmly in the wait and see phase.

2021

The Q4 E-tron will go on sale sometime this year.