Whenever drivers glance down, it happens: Blind flight. Speed, navigation, tank fill level or charge display. The gaze drops down, away from the road. In addition, the driver's eyes have to re-focus again and again. Focus on the display close by and on the distant road. The faster the vehicle is moving, the longer the distance traveled blind. At 100 km/h, around 28 meters are covered in a second. A lot can happen in that time. But with a Head-Up display (HUD), drivers can keep their head held high all the time. All the relevant information is blended in to the windshield, appearing directly in the driver's field of vision. Eyes on the road at all times.
The Japanese automobile supplier Nippon Seiki is a global leader in development and production of Head-Up displays. Nippon Seiki was awarded the Daimler Supplier Award 2020 in the category "Innovation" for its innovative Head-Up displays in Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLS. „With your high quality product you showed how ambitioned you are to take technology and quality to the next level.”, said Gunnar Güthenke, Vice President Procurement & Supplier Quality Mercedes-Benz Cars, at the award ceremony.
The Head-Up Display in the Mercedes-Benz GLE uses a a system of lenses and mirrors that
projects a full-colour image measuring around 45 x 15 centimetres into the windscreen. To the driver it appears to float above the bonnet at a distance of around 3 metres. Now more than twice the size, the virtual image is 20 percent brighter for better legibility in bright conditions. Moreover, it has space for further information about e.g. the current audio source, the current phone call and the reception and battery status of the connected phone. In addition it shows the arrival time and distance to destination if route guidance is active. The driver is able to select the information considered relevant, including additional off-road content such as vehicle inclination, torque distribution and acceleration forces.
New standards in the new S-Class
In the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the HUD generates the largest virtual image ever generated by a HUD. With a projection distance of 10 meters instead of the usual 2-3 meters, new standards are set. Built for this: The largest mirror ever incorporated in an automotive HUD. For image creation in operation: A specially developed digital projector. This technology is also applied for movies projectors and is necessary in order to be able to generate an image of the required size. The LCDs used in conventional HUDs would be stretched to the limit here.
"Japanese precision instruments", that is the translation of "Nippon Seiki". The company was founded a year after World War II. Resources were scarce in 1946. That is why their objective was to produce precision instruments with the lowest possible use of material. In 1947 came the request to produce a component for a motorcycle speedometer. However, the management at the time also wanted to produce the entire instrument. After concluding the customer's order, Nippon Seiki developed and produced its first complete speedometer. Sales initially concentrated on workshops and spare parts dealers, but as early as 1948 a follow-up order was placed by the customer - this time for the complete unit. The first instrument cluster for passenger cars was produced in 1960.
Development of Head-Up displays began in 1984. Around this time, safety technologies such as the first airbags became the focus of passenger car development, as did the use of HUDs as a preventive safety measure. Series production of the first HUD started in 1997. Nippon Seiki's portfolio includes today: Sensors, display instruments for passenger cars and motorbikes and Head-Up displays. The company employs more than 14,500 people at 35 locations in 12 different countries.