Augmented reality offers many exciting possibilities and applications, but encouraging drivers to gaze at a mobile-phone screen when behind the wheel surely isn't one of them.
Wikitude Drive overlays directional arrows, lane guides and text onto reality, as captured on an Android handset's camera. This enables a driver to see where he's going without taking his eyes off the road, or, more accurately, without taking his eyes off the part of the road visible on a 4-inch LCD screen.
If you find the idea of holding a mobile phone in front of your face while driving scary then take a look at the promotional video:
To be fair to Mobilizy, the application's developers, the demonstration appears to take place with the user in the passenger seat, but how often does one rely on a passenger to read the sat-nav?
Mobilizy is the company responsible for the Wikitude travel guide that provides information about local landmarks and places, gleaned from Wikipedia, simply by pointing a mobile phone's camera at them.
A travel guide-augmented reality makes perfect sense, and perhaps one day a windscreen-mounted head-up display could incorporate signage, but until then we'll keep the technology for pedestrian applications, and hope everyone else does likewise. ®