General Motors is working on a next-generation Head Up Display technology that won't just be confined to a small portion of the windshield but use the whole surface area.

General Motors first went to market with Head Up Display technology in 1988. Since then a number of other automakers sell cars with HUD. Now the General is working to up the game by collaborating with a number of universities on a next-generation system.

"We're looking to create enhanced vision systems," says Thomas Seder, group lab manager-GM R&D. "Let's say you're driving in fog, we could use the vehicle's infrared cameras to identify where the edge of the road is and the lasers could ‘paint' the edge of the road onto the windshield so the driver knows where the edge of the road is."

Current systems rely on a small portion of the windshield being HUD-active, and in most cases only the driver can see the information on display. GM wants to make the entire windshield an HUD hub by coating it with a series of transparent phosphors which emit visible light when excited by a light beam. For these purposes that light beam comes from a compact laser.

Combined with an advanced night-vision system the new HUD would pick up pedestrians and animals within close proximity in extremely dark or foggy conditions, and display the information very clearly. It can even be mated with the Insignia's sign-reading technology to alert the driver about relevant road signs.

"We have done testing on a number of drivers and their performance is better relative to head-down systems that are commonly used in vehicles today," Seder said. "It's a compelling design."


Gallery: GM Developing Next-Generation Head-Up Technology with Lasers [Video]