Phiar raises $3m for development of AR driving app

Phiar is building an augmented reality navigation smartphone app for drivers. The California based tech company recently secured $3 million in funding to complete the project.

AR Navigation
Image: Phiar

The app will allow drivers to keep their eyes focused on the road while using their smartphones to navigate. The app will also save up to 30 minutes of video footage from each journey, turning the average smartphone into a dash cam as well as a SatNav. The company plans to release the consumer app in 2019.

Phiar’s chief technology officer, Xinyu Li, said in a statement: “Our unique combination of augmented reality and AI delivers clear direction and routing information. But what makes the experience so unique is the super-efficient computer vision and deep learning AI, which is capable of running on smartphones. Our navigation system augments your surroundings rather than distracting you from them.”

“The idea came after taking too many wrong turns on the streets of Boston,” said company co-founder Chen-Ping Yu, in a statement. “Trying to interpret directions from a two-dimensional map, especially at high speeds, is as difficult as it is dangerous. Navigation should be convenient and straightforward, and what we’re building is going to help people get to their destination faster and safer.”

Car manufacturers themselves have started to develop similar technology to the Phiar app. Most recently, Porsche and Hyundai announced plans to put holographic augmented displays in their vehicles by 2020. This app will be a cheaper and more accessible alternative to these high-spec systems.