Nissan is using CES 2019 to outline a concept system that will take data gathered by the car and from cloud sources and combine them into a visualisation to aid drivers - a system it is calling "invisible-to-visible". 

Much of the data that the car gathers will never been seen by the driver or passengers. While things like traffic sign recognition is common, you rarely get anything from any of the other sensors - and the car can see a lot of things that you can't.

Under the new system, Nissan would be able to provide a virtualisation of this information to aid your driving, or to demonstrate that the car knows what it's doing, to give you reassurance when riding autonomously.

There are some interesting ideas that it presents. For example, as the car can see the road and other vehicles through its sensors - and has data about the road's route through cloud mapping services - it could provide a clearer view in bad weather, removing fog for example.

NissanAn In-car Avatar Becomes Your Ride-along Assistant In Nissans Invisible-to-visible Driving Concept image 2

Many of the situations that Nissan suggest are for assistance, using an animated avatar or character to visually give you guidance through a heads-up-display implementation, like guiding you to a parking spot or giving you directions. 

But the most interesting idea - and potentially the least likely to happen - is the concept of a full avatar passenger that you can interact with in the car. That would mean you could have a guide, showing you around a new city, or just someone coming along for the virtual ride. 

Nissan's video adds a Manga-style avatar, saying you could have anyone you want, and in this case, the girl seems to provide tourist information. In another situation, a virtual driving instructor appears and a virtualised guideline along the road suggests the best line to take - a bit like a racing game.

NissanAn In-car Avatar Becomes Your Ride-along Assistant In Nissans Invisible-to-visible Driving Concept image 3

The big point of this concept is about the combination of online information with that gathered in the real world - creating a metaverse - or mixed reality environment. The concept looks pretty far into the future, when autonomous driving is the norm, and is demonstrated at CES 2019 with a headset. 

Whether people will actually drive in headsets remains questionable. Yes, projection technology in future in-car heads-up display units could make this something of a reality, but for now, it looks like a bit of fun.