Mini reveals augmented reality glasses concept

Funky specs can simultaneously aid parking, project navigational instructions onto the road and make you look like a prize plonker

No, what you see in front of you is not a pair of Elvis Presley's long-lost sunglasses, nor is it a ridiculously late April Fool's Day joke, but a new augmented reality concept from Mini that could completely the change the way we drive.

Set to be unveiled at the Shanghai motor show next week, Augmented Vision uses "see through" technology that allows the augmented reality glasses to beam a whole host of information into the driver's eye line without distracting him or her from the road ahead.

Navigation will be one of the main features, with the system able to overlay detailed instructions and handy arrows directly onto the road ahead.

A mode dubbed "First Mile/Last Mile" can also point drivers in the direction of their car when on foot, which is perfect for navigating the Long Stay car park at Heathrow, or from the car to their final destination.

Other notable handy features include X-Ray View, which renders parts of the vehicle 'invisible' to make manoeuvring in tight spaces easier, and Augmented Parking, which projects images from a camera housed in the farside mirror into the eyewear, thus avoiding run-ins with the kerb.

Augmented Vision is also constantly hooked up to Mini's infotainment system, so the futuristic specs can read out messages when they land on your smartphone or display information about your favourite tracks.

Dr. Jörg Preißinger, project-manager of Mini Augmented Vision at BMW Group research and technology, said at the launch: "Augmented Vision gives an insight into how intelligent connectivity between a Mini car and eyewear into which relevant content is projected might work in the future.

"We have created an interlinked system and augmented reality eyewear that revolutionise the experience both in and outside the vehicle."

Although Dr. Jörg Preißinger didn't comment on the legal implications of having so much information pelted at your eyeballs whilst piloting a vehicle at speed, nor did he mention that they look a bit daft.