What Is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is a catchall term for a real-life experience enhanced by computer-generated information. Imagine walking in a European city square, looking at the remains of an ancient basilica, and seeing information pop up in your field of view, giving you details such as when it was built. If that sounds cool to you, please invent a time machine, go back a few years and try to convince people that we need to go all-in on Google Glass.
Assuming you can't bend the space-time continuum to your will, you can actually find AR pretty much everywhere, albeit in a far less dorky form. Certain apps will overlay information on top of the image generated by your phone's camera. And how's this for a shameless plug? You can open the Edmunds app, hit the "More" button, then select "Can It Fit?" Voilà! Now you can see if the car you're shopping for will fit in your garage. Nifty, huh?
In vehicles, the most common type of AR interface is a head-up display, which projects information directly onto the windshield, or, less commonly, on a flip-up screen on top of your instrument panel. Neat, but there are other manufacturers that take this tech a step further.