Electronic gurus at Pioneer in Japan have come up with the first ever augmented reality sat-nav system. Called the Pioneer AVIC-VH09C, specifically, the double-din head unit is able to display real images combined with the sat-nav system thanks to a front-facing camera placed on the windscreen.

Pioneer AVIC-VH09C

The unit uses a seven-inch LCD screen to not only display sat-nav information, but also plays DVDs, CDs, information from USB sticks and memory cards, as well as Bluetooth streaming. The most remarkable aspect is the Augmented Reality (AR) Scouter Mode. Using a wireless camera mounted on the windscreen, the unit constantly communicates with the camera to blend in live images of what's going on in front of you.

This is a big leap forward in in-car navigation as streets and highway turn-off directions should never be misunderstood; the unit knows exactly what part of the journey you're on, and even knows what lane you're in. It highlights exactly the point where you need to turn using lines and markings blended over the top of the live images.

The only problem with the new Pioneer unit is that it will initially be available only in Japan. Sales will commence towards the end of this month with a recommended retail price of around $3700. No doubt, the technology is expected to become available in other markets around the world in due course, and hopefully, become a standard feature in future production cars.