It’s five, ten, or fifteen years in the future. You’re renting a box truck, or whatever they’ll be called in the future, to help a friend move. You’ve signed the papers, waivers, and insurance forms. Then the rental company associate asks if you’ve used VAR (Vehicular Augmented Reality) you answer hesitantly… “Not really—maybe just a little.”  The associate says no problem, downloads a document to your mobile device and says, “Follow me.”

Sitting in the truck

The rental associate walks you through the basic VAR equipment on the rental truck.

“This is an older truck, and the VAR is last year’s model, but it does the job. Let’s cover the easy stuff first. All the displays are eye level holographs; you never have to look down or take your eyes off the road. Speed, engine, and GPS will show up on the windshield day and night. All you need to do is access the app I sent to set size, style, and color of the image.”

Leave the driving to us

“Next are a few automatic responses. The lane change indicator will sound and take over if a side collision is imminent. Same goes for frontal collision and braking. At night if hazards are detected by the front facing camera the system will automatically focus more light on the obstacle.”

Are you ready and alert?

“The camera you see above and to your right is focused on the driver. Along with algorithms focused on driver behavior such as speed, turn radius, and braking time, the camera will detect and notify our headquarters of unusual driver behavior. You will be contacted by our office and advised. If your answers are unsatisfactory, we can and will take over and park the truck at the nearest safe exit.”

Seeing is believing

“Now to the fun stuff.” He says as he hands you a pair of glasses. “When you start the engine and put these on they automatically engage.” These VR glasses combined with cameras placed strategically around the truck allow you to see around and through the vehicle. No more blind spots. You can see everything front back and side like the truck wasn’t there. Go ahead and start the engine and give them a try.”

“And VAR doesn’t stop with the driver it monitors such things as repairs and maintenance schedules. Also routing, taking into consideration, traffic, construction, and stoplight synchronization.”

“So any questions?” She asks, and you answer, “Only one. When can I hit the road?”

You drive off into the sunset. I mean to your friend’s house. You’ve just experienced what thousands upon thousands of professional drivers take for granted every day—vehicle augmented reality. It’s made the road safer, more efficient, and friendlier.

Back to 2016

Some of what is shared in this post is already here, and some is right around the corner. When will it be here? We’re not sure, but it will eventually be here and trucking will be better for it.