We've seen head-up displays (HUDs) before in production vehicles like the Chevrolet Corvette and the BMW 5-Series. However, these displays are often small, monochromatic, and use technology that's nearly a decade old. Pioneer aims to change this with a new laser-based prototype HUD, unveiled and demonstrated at Ceatec 2010 in Japan.
Pioneer's HUD uses lasers to project full-color animated maps and images onto a transparent panel, but Pioneer predicts that one day the system could be used to throw maps and turn-by-turn directions onto your vehicle's windshield. The prototype system connects to an Android OS smartphone for connection to the Internet, presumably to pull information such as traffic, weather, or POI data from the cloud, but it may even be pulling map data a la Google Maps.
The most obvious applications for this technology exist in the aftermarket (although Pioneer will probably need to shrink that laser projector before it can find a home in a car's cabin), but Pioneer's representative says the company is currently in talks with automotive OEMs.
Check out the video below to see Pioneer's laser-HUD in action.