Navdy Launches Pre-Sale Campaign Today

Bring Jet-Fighter Tech to Your Car with NavdyIts LAUNCH Day for Navdy as our presale campaign starts today. You can go to the  Navdy site to see the video.  It was a little over a year ago that Doug Simpson contacted me via this blog asking about how to make a aftermarket heads up display (HUD) for automobiels.     We went through an incubator program called Highway1 sponsored by PCH International that I discussed in my last blog entry.

The picture above is a “fancy marketing image” that tries to simulate what the eye sees (which is impossible to do with a camera as it turns out).   We figures out how to do some pretty interesting stuff and the optics works better than I thought was possible when we started.    The image image focuses beyond the “combiner/lens” to help with the driver seeing the images in the far vision is about 40 times brighter (for use in bright sunlight) than an iPhone while being very efficient.

Navdy Office

Being CTO at a new start-up has kept me away from this blog (a start-up is very time consuming).  We have raise some significant initial venture capital to get the program off the ground and the pre-sale campaign takes it to the next level to get products to market.  In the early days it was just me and Doug but now we have about a dozen people and growing.


Karl Guttag
Karl Guttag
Articles: 243


    • I think 1080p resolution would be a lot more than a HUD requires as this time. The goal of a HUD is to provide simple clear information. Everything needs to be easy to grasp quickly.

  1. Great product, Karl. I used to use my smartphone, but I think that smartphones are not the best suited as GPS: It removes focus from the road, the map is hided when receiving a call !!, the battery falls down,…

    Will Navdy have an app for iPhone/Android?

    Thanks also for sharing your highway1 experience. This different from HAXLR8R but both happens in Shenzhen and San Francisco.

    Best regards,
    — Hassen

    • Thanks,

      The plan is for Navdy to support both the iPhone and Android. The idea for Navdy is to put the information in front of the driver where it is easy to grasp with a see through display and moving the apparent focus distance out to be easier on the eyes. While many people use their phones for navigation because it is “free” there are a lot of problems/issues as you note.

      • Is this technology like a pico projector? Or is it LCoS? In the post below, you reference Himax is being used with Google Glass and they have some interesting technology with their new Front Lit LCoS and it appears that the technology will carry over to their pico projectors.

        Thanks and looking forward to giving one of these units a try.

      • Thanks,

        I apologize, It is a form of pico-projector but Navdy has not yet gone public with exactly what technology is inside the HUD. I figured out what was in Google Glass before I became a co-founder of Navdy.


  2. Hi Karl

    I live in brazil sao paulo, will the navigation technology cover brazil and secondly Is the Navdy HUD once again Himax technology? Thanks sam

      • Since you are no longer with Navdy, can you disclose what technology is being used? Waiting to get my hands on one so I can tear it down and see for myself!

    • I’m sorry I can’t comment on what Navdy is doing and why their product is delayed. There were products by Pioneer (two different designs, one design based on laser scanning and the other based on DLP) and JVC that were out before Navdy but did not succeed. On the super compact designs such as Pioneer, JVC, and (I think from the picture) the Shiny Optics one you reference, they only use a simple spherical combiner that acts to magnify and move the virtual image position. They use a high gain rear or front projection screen to act as a “pupil expander.” Even with a simple optical system there are some tricks that can make one system better than the others optically.


      • Karl, I think that main difference is that pioneer etc is not putting on dash, suspended on top inside mirror. which is not stable, and also driver need to look up, which is not good.

        and more importantly, they are not facing to US customers.

        I wish Navdy great success, however the technology for display, optics, and all hardware, there are really no or minimum innovations.
        my two cents.

      • Michael,

        Actually there are some “tricks” necessary to make it work well in sunlight sitting on a dash. If you just stuck the Pioneer design on a dash, it would be totally washed out in sunlight (the location on the visor lets the roof block the sunlight that would wash out the display). But the optical paths are indeed very simple in all the after market HUD designs.

        Also, in case you missed it, I have not worked for Navdy in almost a year.

      • I think Navdy is using

        DLP (not laser due to cost etc)+1 freeform mirror +1 free form combiner, using two freeform mirrors can better control aberrations and generate a larger eye box.

      • As I have not worked for Navdy in almost a year, I do not know if the optical manufacturing is causing a delay. How would you know?

  3. Karl, what do you think of Laforge optical, i think they have really great product, that’s the ar people want to wear, can you share some of your opinion?

    • Michael,

      I was not familiar with Laforge before, but from what I could see on-line, it is yet one more near eye display CONCEPT with almost no details. I could find nothing about what it actually looks like other than the “Photoshop perfect” concept images. Have you actually seen it and worn it?

    • I left Navdy in January 2015 and you can draw whatever conclusions you want, but as the former CTO, I don’t think it is appropriate for me to comment further.

      • I don’t know anything specific about the “carrobot” but it looks to me like someone was able to get a copy of the Navdy unit finished before Navdy. This is one of the risks of doing a presale campaign for a startup, and particularly for one taking so long to come to market, you are telling potential competitors what you are working on; a faster moving competitor can beat you to the market.

        There are too many commonalities for it to be a coincident, but based on the Carrbot website and the review at (use say Google Translate), it looks to me that they missed out on at least one key optical feature I came up with for Navdy when making their copy.

      • First I am not a patent lawyer so all the below is just my opinion.

        While Navdy has applied for a patent on the technology the patent has not issued yet so Carrobot can’t be sued/stopped yet for say patent infringement. Another huge issue is that it is not clear that they have sold many or that the company involved is worth suing. By the time the patent issues, this company could be long gone. There may be some “fair trade practice issues” (don’t know) but once again there would be the issue of whether they could or would be worth suing.

        Exploride has the issues above PLUS its display technology is IF, (and that is a big if) it works, totally different than Navdy’s. I’m skeptical that Exploride’s can actually do what they show (a highly transparent flat panel that will work in sunlight); I have serious doubts it works. Navdy is trying to patent different aspects of their device, but it is yet to be seen what claims will be allowed and if the allowed claims would cover aspects of Exploride.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts… Navdy website had not been updated for over 6 months.. Wonder if they are still in business. I was thinking about pre-order but will hold off. They’d better ship something before the self driving cars come out. Devices like Navdy will be obsoleted they the self driving cars come out….

    • Jose,

      As far as I know, Navdy is still in business, but they keep a very tight control on information (see the two links below). They put out a video of a prototype/product being taken for a test drive to people that pre-ordered and the video was briefly available (the links in the threads below no longer work to see the video).

      There is what I call the 90/90 rule (not mine, but I quote it a lot) which goes, “it takes 90 percent of the effort to get 90% of the way there, and then it takes another 90% to get the last 10% done.” Which basically means that when you think you have something close to working, you find that there are a lot of other issues you have to deal with (reliability/lifetime, manufacturing issues, shipping issues, software bugs, hardware bugs, mechanical bugs, etc.).

      I think is it going to be quite a few years before self driving cars are common. The real world is very tricky with lots of exceptions that could get someone killed. And the likes of Google can spend a lot of money on one car.

  5. It is our common practice that we increase brightness of our cell phones in bright daylight.Now as in exploride case, display will be projected to wind screen which will be very easily readable in night but in day time, it will be more difficult to read. So, does exploride has the some automatic function to adjust brightness?

    • I have not seen an Exploride that I can remember. I just included their name in the article because they were one of the many clones of the Navdy design. So I don’t know what they support in terms of brigthness.

      I would assume they have some kind of brightness control. From bright sunlight to nighttime you want over a 100X difference (and more like 500X) display brightness. This is so you can see the display against a bright background (say the concrete road) and so it won’t blind you at night.

      Another big issue is whether the screen (pupil expander) can reject sunlight during the day or whether it washes out. I would have to test it to know if they figured out how to solve this problem.

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