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Once the province of high-performance cars with fighter-jet pretensions (see Corvette), a heads-up display function was one of the pleasant surprises we discovered in the four-cylinder Buick LaCrosse with eAssist. We found ourselves thinking, “Why doesn’t every car have this?” Soon, Pioneer will sell a system that you can install in any car. Mercedes and Audi are working on gesture-based displays, and GM is tinkering with a system that uses lasers to augment the reality beyond the windshield. (Looking for a chalupa? There’s a laser-outlined Taco Bell right over there!) But frankly, all we really need are the basics, as delivered by current systems from GM, BMW, and Audi: speed, navigation, radio stations. Projecting that kind of basic information on the windshield helps refocus your attention to a place where it increasingly isn’t: the road. If most new gadgets tend to distract you from the act of driving, it’s nice to have at least one that serves as the antidote. Illustration by Larry Jost

Once the province of high-performance cars with fighter-jet pretensions (see Corvette), a heads-up display function was one of the pleasant surprises we discovered in the four-cylinder Buick LaCrosse with eAssist. We found ourselves thinking, “Why doesn’t every car have this?” Soon, Pioneer will sell a system that you can install in any car. Mercedes and Audi are working on gesture-based displays, and GM is tinkering with a system that uses lasers to augment the reality beyond the windshield. (Looking for a chalupa? There’s a laser-outlined Taco Bell right over there!) But frankly, all we really need are the basics, as delivered by current systems from GM, BMW, and Audi: speed, navigation, radio stations. Projecting that kind of basic information on the windshield helps refocus your attention to a place where it increasingly isn’t: the road. If most new gadgets tend to distract you from the act of driving, it’s nice to have at least one that serves as the antidote. Illustration by Larry Jost