Innovative Navdy Heads-Up Display Keeps Your Eyes on the Road at All Times

Have you ever wondered what it was like to fly a spaceship? Or, maybe you find it distracting to look down at your car’s built-in GPS navigation. If so, then Navdy is for you. Navdy projects a see-through display right in front of the road so you can keep your eyes on the road while driving; Navdy retails for $499.

 

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Navdy connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth paired with a free companion app in order to act as your command center while driving. You’re able to use GPS navigation, receive texts, see smartphone notifications, make calls, choose music, and access your car’s diagnostic information through Navdy’s innovative display. Navdy’s heads-up display (HUD) projects all of your most important information onto a see-through display right in front of the road, allowing you to stay connected while keeping your eyes on the road ahead.

Check out Navdy’s video, below for a quick introduction:

There are two main screens that I’ve used while driving; the GPS screen, and the Dash screen. The GPS screen shows where you are on a map and if you’re currently navigating, it’ll also show your ETA and time remaining, as well as your speed and the next turn. The Dash screen shows your car’s diagnostics within three main sections: The main section in the middle can be either a tachometer (RPM) with digital speed in the center or a just a speed gauge.

Check out the unboxing gallery, below.  Navdy did a fantastic job packaging the unit, making it feel like an adventure discovering all of the parts and pieces.

The left and right sections can be configured depending on what you want to see. You have a number of options, including Gas tank status, miles per gallon, date/time, analog clock, next event, “now playing” for music, and more. When I’m not navigating to a destination, I like having the dash up so that I can see my speed without looking down at the car’s dashboard. Even without using navigation or notifications, Navdy keeps you safer.

Innovative Navdy Heads-Up Display Keeps Your Eyes on the Road at All Times

Navdy sitting on my dash in the garage.

Navdy is made up of a number of components, including the dashboard mount, optional height adjustment mounts, the power cable with a magnetic puck on one end and an OBD-II plug on the other end, the Bluetooth control dial, and of course, the Navdy console itself. The console has a flip-down screen so it can be rotated out of the way when not in use. The main console is magnetically attached to the base, so it can be easily taken down and put in your glove compartment or brought inside if you’re worried about theft.

Innovative Navdy Heads-Up Display Keeps Your Eyes on the Road at All Times

Top view of the Navdy console.

Navdy built an operating system from the ground up, using Android as a base, to ensure that their users have the best possible driving experience. It’s important to note that Navdy is not just mirroring your smartphone; it’s elegantly integrating your smartphone’s notifications, contacts, music, etc. into the Navdy interface. Navdy carefully picked the most critical information only, so as not to distract the driver. Dan Currie, Navdy’s Chief Revenue Officer, had told me that his team is most excited about their software and the user experience.

Innovative Navdy Heads-Up Display Keeps Your Eyes on the Road at All Times

View of the Navdy base without the Navdy installed. Here you can see the magnetic power puck.

Navdy connects to your phone via Bluetooth and therefore does not require its own data plan. Navdy utilizes Google Maps for its navigation and even has built-in maps in the US, Canada, and Mexico, so that if you lose data connection while traveling, Navdy will still get you where you need to go. The only bummer, however, is that you’re stuck with using Navdy’s built-in navigation (Google Maps) so you aren’t able to use other navigation apps like Waze or Apple Maps. While not a deal breaker, it’s something to consider if you’re married to Waze.

Innovative Navdy Heads-Up Display Keeps Your Eyes on the Road at All Times

A good look at the Bluetooth dial installed.

Navdy also utilizes two innovative input methods to help you stay safe keeping your eyes on the road. The first is a dial that connects to the main console via Bluetooth. The high-quality dial attaches to your car’s steering wheel with a stretchy silicon strap and allows you to control Navdy with your thumb. The dial has a single push button as well as a rotating dial you use to scroll.

The second input method is the use of hand gestures. You’re able to swipe your hand left to accept a call or have Navdy read a text message to you, or you can swipe your hand right to decline a call or dismiss a notification. It’s simple, intuitive, and works very well.

Innovative Navdy Heads-Up Display Keeps Your Eyes on the Road at All Times

PLEASE NOTE, THIS PHOTO DOES NOT ACCURATELY DEPICT THE DISPLAY IN PERSON.  For some reason, the way Navdy projects does not play well with cameras, so I was not able to get any good pictures of the display during real life use. each shot makes the display look like an unfocused rainbow when that’s not the case in reality.

Since I’ve been using Navdy, however, I’ve been pondering an interesting question, “How connected do you need to be while driving?” Do we really need to get Facebook notifications or text message notifications while we are driving? The answer is surely no; but for some people who will text and drive anyway, Navdy is a much safer and hands-free option, while always keeping your eyes on the road. Thankfully, however, the smartphone notifications are completely optional and you can turn them off if you wish, leaving you with simply GPS navigation and your car’s diagnostic information.

You are also able to pick and choose which apps you want Navdy to show notifications from, so if you don’t want Facebook notifications, but you do want Facebook Messenger notifications, go right ahead! Customizing Navdy’s notification settings is very simple within the free Navdy app.

As a result of how proud they are of their software, the development team is constantly releasing patches for their operating system. As of now, they’re up to version 1.2. Version 1.1 brought with it voice activation, which allows you to use Siri or Google Now, depending on whether your smartphone is an iPhone or an Android device. This feature allows you to search for a destination with just your voice. Version 1.2 brought with it the implementation of Glympse, which is a simple way to share your location and ETA with friends and family.

Check out the gallery below of app screenshots:

 

When I first heard about Navdy, I was a skeptic. I thought, how could it possibly project an image onto the road that’s bright enough to see in full sunlight during the day? After setting it up, I was immediately impressed. First, I was impressed with how easy the setup was, and second, at how well the display actually works. It automatically brightens and dims depending on the lighting conditions, but it has always been easily readable even in full sunlight. The hardware is top-notch and has a very high build-quality and high-end feel to it.

The dial is a perfect example of the high-end feel, as it’s soft to the touch but you’re able to control it easily with your thumb, one turn of the dial at a time. It’s something you have to feel to understand.  After a number of long drives, I noticed that I was looking away from the road less often because of the information that was being provided to me on the road itself.   Once I used Navdy every day for a few weeks, I’m a believer.

After speaking with Navdy, I understand how passionate they are about their product and see that their #1 goal is for their users to have an outstanding driving experience. There have been over 20,000,000 miles driven by Navdy users, and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. If you’re looking for a heads-up display for your car, Navdy should be your first stop as it really does keep your eyes on the road at all times, and that leads to safer roads for everybody.

You can buy yours directly from the manufacturer

Source:  Navdy was a manufacturer provided review sample.

What I Like:  Excellent build quality; Quick & easy installation; Great user experience; Unique display and input methods; Great customer support; Offline maps; Complete smartphone integration; Keeps your eyes on the road

What Needs Improvement:  The ability to use third-party navigation software like Waze would be an improvement

About the Author

Perry Brauner
I'm an architect by trade, but the overarching theme of my life has always been trying to keep up with the newest, coolest technology. Ever since I picked up an NES controller, I've been hooked on the latest and greatest gadgets, gizmos, and toys. Whether it's gaming, mobile phones, and accessories, or PCs and Apple products, I'm interested. I use many Apple products in my daily life, such as the iPhone, iPad, and my MacBook Pro. I've also built a few PCs in my day, so I'd like to say that I'm a pretty well-rounded techie.