Using only the camera and processing power of an iPhone, Phiar overlays directions on a live video shown on a driver’s smartphone display. The Phiar solution also identifies objects, people, lane-markers, and more. Potential features of the Phiar app include lane departure warning and collision warning.
Founder and CEO, Chen-Pin Yu explains that they had to develop their own augmented reality tool kit because ARKit and ARCore do not work well with high-speed movements. The Phiar app blurs identifiable images, such as license plates and faces, on the device prior to sending data to the cloud.
Further, while on mobile networks, only location metadata is sent for location information. The transmission of higher bit rate data, such as images and video, only occurs when the phone connects to WiFi. Yu stresses that they take various measures to protect the privacy of the driver’s identity.
As more people adopt their free app, which is in beta, their machine learning back-end will effectively learn how to drive. Yu sees a future where their technology integrates directly into vehicles, heads up displays, and smart glasses.
[Added 1/20/21 – As predicted by Yu, at CES2021, Panasonic announced the integration of Phiar’s technology into its new augmented reality, heads up display. This display promises a more engaging experience by using eye-tracking to place important information directly into the driver’s line-of-sight.]