Navdy is another innovative company to emerge from San Francisco’s ever-growing tech bubble. Fueled by the Highway1 Incubator program, Navdy’s team of thirteen designers and engineers (and one wall-mounted animal head) have created a HUD (Head-Up Display) that becomes an extension of your smartphone.
It’s no secret that if you use your smartphone while driving sooner or later you’re gonna have a bad time. Of course, windshield mounts and handsfree kits help, but they also block your view of the road and have limited functionality. Navdy set out “to be the safest and most intuitive way to make calls, use navigation, listen to music or access notifications without ever looking away from the road.”
Simplified versions of your favorite apps are projected as a transparent image within your field of vision. That way you can remain focused on navigating the road while interacting with your smartphone. The HUD doesn’t rely on touch input like built-in car navigation systems or portable GPS units, but rather it takes commands from voice and hand gestures:
Your app’s simplified Navdy menus can be navigated with intuitive hand gestures. Voice recognition captures more complex commands and text message responses. Navdy’s noise cancellation and wide angle gesture sensors are specifically designed to create an optical driving experience.
Check out the video below to get a better sense of how these interactions work.
Navdy is compatible with iPhone (iOS 7+) and Android (4.3+) smartphones and is connected over Bluetooth so it can easily be moved between vehicles. The Navdy sits on your dashboard, while its sole wire must be plugged into your car’s OBD II port, which is available on all cars newer than 1996.
For the first 30 days during the preorder period, Navdy will cost $299. That’s 40% below the projected list price of $499. You can also save an additional $30 for referrals. The first batch of Navdy units are scheduled to ship in early 2015.
Navdy’s HUD feels like driving in the future
SAN FRANCISCO– (August 5th, 2014)— Navdy announced today a breakthrough Head-Up Display (HUD) aftermarket car console that allows drivers to access their smartphone’s apps while keeping their eyes on the road. Navdy combines a high quality projection display with voice and gesture controls to create a safer, highly intuitive driving experience. Combining advanced display technology with touch-less controls means drivers no longer need to fumble around with their phone to navigate, communicate or control their music. It’s available for pre-order right now on Navdy.com
Drivers are three times more likely to get into an accident when they take their eyes off the road to look down at a touchscreen. Built-in consoles like Android Auto and Apple Carplay are just bigger touchscreens that do nothing to solve the problem. “Smartphones were never designed to be used while driving.” said Navdy co-founder and CEO Doug Simpson. “Touch-based apps clearly force you to take your eyes off the road. So we started by completely rethinking what the experience of using apps behind the wheel should feel like. Navdy is built from the ground up to be the safest and most intuitive way to make calls, use navigation, listen to music or access notifications without ever looking away from the road.”
Navdy is the world’s first in-car platform that offers:
- Breakthrough display technology: Projects a bright transparent image directly within your field of vision that appears to float six feet in front of your windshield, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road while simultaneously seeing navigation instructions or incoming phone calls. The device comes with advanced dimming and stabilization controls, to optimize usability in any driving conditions.
- Car-tailored Interface: When your smartphone apps appear on Navdy they are purposely simplified to show you only what you need, when you need it, and minimize distractions. Your navigation will not disappear when a call comes in; Navdy will display both notifications and navigation at the same time in a split screen. Visual elements such as image complexity, placement, or font size, are consistent across apps to make the user experience pleasant and predictable.
- Voice and gesture controls: You’ll never need to look away from the road to use Navdy. Your app’s simplified Navdy menus can be navigated with intuitive hand gestures. Voice recognition captures more complex commands and text message responses. Navdy’s noise cancellation and wide angle gesture sensors are specifically designed to create an optical driving experience.
- Works in any car: The device mounts on a flexible footer that fits on practically any car dashboard, and is powered by plugging in to the onboard computer (OBD II port), available in all cars produced since 1996. This makes the only required cord less intrusive, while providing car status information to the Navdy processor.
- With all the Apps you need: Navdy works with popular navigation apps like Google Maps to display turn-by-turn directions; it controls your music apps like Spotify, Pandora, or Google Music; it reads or displays notifications from text messages or social media apps, fully controlled by its Parental Control settings; and it displays car alerts such as true-speed, miles-to-empty, or battery-voltage from its access to the car’s computer.
- Portable and compatible: Navdy works with iPhone (iOS 7+) and Android (4.3+) smartphones, and can move easily to another car or another smartphone. Once a Navdy has been paired over bluetooth for the first time, it can share data with your phone over wifi. Navdy does not require it’s own data subscription service. Initial device dashboard placement takes 60-90 seconds. Slightly longer if you read instructions.
Availability & Pricing
Navdy is available for pre-order for 30 days at the introductory price of $299, at 40% discount from its projected retail price of $499. Early adopters can get a 10% refund of $30 for each friend they refer to buy the product – with 10 referrals, your Navdy is free! Navdy is running a 30-day pre-order campaign on navdy.com to gauge consumer demand and collect feedback from early adopters. Backers will have early access to the Navdy device so that they can provide feedback and help guide the app development process as the company ramps up to a wider release.
Navdy is expected to ship in early 2015.
Navdy is based in the Mission District in San Francisco. It was founded by entrepreneur Doug Simpson and serial inventor Karl Guttag, and supported by a highly accomplished veteran team. In 2013 it went through the acclaimed Highway 1 Incubator program and continues to work closely with Highway 1’s parent, PCH International, whose world class logistics and inventory capabilities are used by companies such as Apple.