HUDWAY is an augmented-reality application for navigation when visibility is reduced to 50-60 meters and overall conditions are dangerous — heavy snow, rain, fog, dusk or darkness. The user puts the smartphone onto a dashboard, close to the windshield, and starts driving. The live visualization of the road created on the smartphone screen is reflected off the windshield, making it a HUD. Ivan Klabukov, Co-founder and CEO of HUDWAY tells us more about the origin of their idea, the rocky road until they came up with the final solution and all the great functionalities it offers now.
Where did your idea for the company come from?
Ivan Klabukov (HUDWAY): The idea, just as it often happens, came from a real need. My brother – the project co-founder – is a professional rally pilot. He once came up to me and asked me to create a mobile app that would display a road line and the vehicle’s position on it — like you see in games. A rally co-pilot could use this info to get their current speed, locate their position and check if they’re lost.
We made a simple app and then had to work out how to display this info on the windshield. This would allow the pilot to see the info too. Moreover, this would support the co-pilot’s instructions, which is important, especially for junior co-pilots. We couldn’t just attach the phone or tablet in front of the pilot — it would reduce his visibility. Plus, you can’t take the pilot’s eye off the road — to imagine how focused the pilot has to be, imagine driving along a narrow, windy forest road at 150 km/h.
Then we thought about projecting the image onto the windshield. We did some research and found some guys in the USA who already manufacture head-up devices with laser projection onto a special film glued onto the windshield. This was a cool solution, but also a very expensive one. We saw no way forward and almost gave it up. More…