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Hyundai is launching augmented reality owner's manuals for its cars

Hyundai is launching augmented reality owner's manuals for its cars

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Tablet-based electronic car owner's manuals are par for the course these days, but Hyundai's taking it a step further, announcing this week that it'll be launching an augmented reality (AR) manual later this year. The app lets you point your tablet at different parts of the car — 45 different parts, to be exact — at which point 2D and 3D overlays on the display will identify what goes where. At launch, the app will include information and overlays for the air filter, engine oil, and brake fluid, along with a host of in-car features like dynamic cruise and Bluetooth phone pairing. A selection of videos and guides will also be available in the app alongside the AR overlays.

As wild as this seems, it's actually not the first time an automaker has taken a serious look at AR: Ferrari recently debuted an AR app for the showroom, but Hyundai claims that incorporating the technology into the owner's manual is a first among "mainstream" car companies. (Audi has done some work with AR, too.) The age of the thick, daunting set of paperback manuals may be drawing to a close in the next few years: some companies have even started loading manuals right into the infotainment system — BMW, for instance — and the spiraling complexity of in-car tech makes reading a physical manual no more palatable for a car than it is for any other gadget.

The first vehicle to get the AR feature will be the 2015 Sonata sedan, expanding to other models "soon," and it will be available for both Android and iOS devices.