General Motors and several US universities are working on a next-gen head-up display that could soon bring augmented reality to a car windscreen near you.

Unlike traditional head-up displays (HUDs), which only project data onto a small portion of the windscreen, the Enhanced Vision System uses the entire surface of the windscreen as a canvas. Cameras, radar sensors and night-vision imaging systems scan the road ahead, while a laser beams images onto a phosphor-coated windscreen that can emit visible light.

When in use, the system can alert drivers to dangers that might exist outside their normal field of vision. For example, in foggy conditions, lane markings could be painted directly on the windscreen. Vehicles, pedestrians and road signs could also be highlighted for better visibility. In another deployment, the system could be combined with automatic sign-reading technology (seen on the Vauxhall Insignia) to alert drivers if they're breaking the speed limit.

The Enhanced Vision System hasn't yet been earmarked for a specific vehicle or given a release date, but GM reckons it could make an appearance, in some form or other, on its cars in the near future. Watch the video below and hit the 'Continue' link for more information on the GM prototype. To see videos of existing HUDs in action, take a gander at our video reviews of the Lexus RX450h and Toyota Prius.

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Unlike traditional HUDs, the Enhanced Vision System can use the entire windscreen as a canvas.
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The Enhanced Vision System could use GM's sign-recognition technology to recognise road signs even when the driver can't see them.
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Lane markings can be painted onto the phosphor-coated windscreen to keep you on the right track in low-visibility driving conditions.
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