Automotive head-up windshield electronics display
Bringing fighter jet technology to the automotive cockpit.

Head-Up Display Solutions

  • Whether you say, ‘Heads Up Display’ or ‘Head Up’ or simply call it HUD, the windscreen is the canvas of the future in connected mobility. For driver information, augmented reality or seeing turn by turn navigation, now critical information is right where it’s needed – directly in the driver’s line of sight.

Display readability and design flexibility

  • A HUD image needs to be visible in all lighting conditions. The Picture Generating Unit (PGU) needs a light source which provides enough luminance to effectively compete with direct sunlight. The image must work across all driver profiles, tall or short, and the projection should not diminish if he or she is wearing polarized sunglasses. To accommodate driver information, a wide field of view is needed and this means an increase in HUD volume. Significant thermal engineering and customization is necessary to meet all of these requirements.

    3M has developed some light-manipulating wizardry to assist—based not in magic, but in the science of optics.

Light Management

diagram of 3M solutions for HUD light management
Light Management

Enhance your augmented display designs in so many ways: brighter, crisper imagery, wider fields of view without significant heat and passenger experiences that are second to none.

Learn more about light management


diagram of 3M solutions for HUD bonding

Reliable adhesive bonds take on a whole new meaning in HUDs, where dust covers must stand up to light, heat and motion over the long term. 3M can help.

Learn more about display bonding

Thermal Management

diagram of 3M solutions for HUD thermal management
Thermal Management

3M materials can help extend your capabilities for reducing heat loads in HUDs. Transmit infrared light. Reflect unused polarized state. Direct heat from HUD components to heat sinks. And more.

Learn more about thermal management


diagram of 3M solutions for HUD emi

You can employ 3M reflective polarizing technology to transmit light of certain polarization states at the cold mirror, reducing visible light and reducing signal noise in the PGU.

Learn more about electromagnetic interference

Cushioning and Damping

diagram of 3M solutions for HUD cushioning and damping
Cushioning and Damping

Engineered cushioning foams protect your peace of mind, absorbing impact energy and keeping it from damaging sensitive electronics like PGUs, LED panels and PCBs.

Learn more about cushioning and damping

Keeping HUD's cool and connected

  • A HUD unit guides an image up to the windshield. An unintended consequence of this, is that it also provides an easy channel for sunlight to strike the Picture Generating Unit (PGU). Design engineers have tackled this problem by using something called a "cold mirror" in the light transit route. This cold mirror transmits unwanted IR solar irradiance away from the PGU. 3M has designed a reflective film which acts as a cold mirror but better. This film also transmits half of the unwanted visible irradiation away from the PGU.

    Solar grade windscreen glass is another solution to keep the cabin interior and HUD electronics cooler. 3M produces a film to reflect IR while allowing visible light to pass through. This reduces the interior heating caused by sunlight. In addition, this film is a non-metallized solar film and thus doesn't interfere with signal relay for transponders, GPS, satellite radio or cellular data.

    All of this is important for projecting augmented reality or "AR."

  • Diagram with 3M Cold Mirror Film in use in a head up display configuration

  • Diagram showing 3M Windshield Combiner Film in auto windshield

Removing the wedge between drivers and their augmented reality

  • Increase the HUD field of view and virtually eliminate secondary images by using 3M™ Windshield Combiner Film (3M WCF) to replace the PVB wedge. This film aligns both glass layers so passengers of all heights can see a single image at the correct depth. We work with leading glass suppliers to determine the best way to apply the film neatly across the entire windscreen without noticeable edge lines.

Image of three HUD displays with and without polarized sunglasses and 3M Windshield Combiner Film
A better view through sunglasses
  • Reflect P-polarized light and deliver a vivid, clear HUD image to passengers wearing polarized sunglasses. When the PGU is configured to project P-pole light, windshield combiner film can clearly reflect the image at any angle. 3M engineers can work with your display team to solve problems in the design phase. Together we can clear the way to bring an augmented display wherever the driver and passenger need it.

Hear from Jim Sax, Vice President of Research and Development for Automotive Electrification at 3M, about how HUDs are paving the way to ADAS

  • Headshot of Jim Sax, Vice President of Research and Development for Automotive Electrification, 3M

    The Human to Machine Interface (HMI) is undergoing a technological boon in automotive design, with Head-Up Displays (HUDs) poised to take over the windshield. HUDs were born in fighter jets. Pilots needed critical information at a glance while flying — hence the term, "head-up." Once the province of premium enthusiasts, HUDs may soon become standard issue, just as back-up cameras are today.

    "I believe HUD is one of the critical technologies to embrace as the future moves towards more autonomous vehicles, playing a vital role in reducing driver distraction, and providing a safer mobility experience."


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