Virtual reality is everywhere nowadays, but you often hear less about its younger brother, augmented reality.

For those that aren’t certain of the line between the two, let me explain.

Virtual reality involves a goal toward full immersion in the digital realm and has the capacity to plant users into completely new worlds. Virtual reality companies, like these who are dealing in senses beyond sight and sound, seek to transports users to unseen realms.

Augmented reality, on the other hand, adds a digital overlay to the world we currently live in.

In short, virtual reality generates its own world while augmented reality compounds on pre-existing worlds–the difference between an adventure using the popular Oculus Rift vs opening a 3D email.

While the lack of full immersion may seem like a turnoff at first glance, augmented reality has its own set of highly relevant uses in the real-world, especially in circumstances where virtual reality would be unfit or even unsafe.

A perfect example of this is the automotive industry.

According to Grand View Research, the automotive application segment <of augmented reality> is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 75% from 2016 to 2024, owing to the increasing adoption of AR across the automotive industry.”

When navigation is the task at hand and lives are at stake, augmented reality offers distinct benefits over virtual reality, not the least of which is that if a failure occurs, our basic senses are still available to back us up.

Examples of augmented reality in the automotive industry include predominantly HUDs for drivers and motorcyclists.

One huge player in this field is DigiLens:

DigiLens

DigiLens is a key creator of the lenses used in HUDs in the automotive industry. They are the makers of the AutoHUD, MotoHUD, and AeroHUD.

In their own words:

DigiLens, Inc. is a leader in waveguide diffractive optic technology and nano-materials, serving the aerospace, automotive, government and consumer electronics industries. We develop unique optical solutions for organizations, performing “optical origami” on some of the most challenging displays and imaging applications. We are also a Switchable Bragg Gratings (SBG) research company, one of the first pioneers.”

They are known for their high quality and transparency.

Similarly, the aerospace sector can benefit from augmented reality during navigation. Although DigiLens also deals in this sector, the benefits of AR for aerospace are exemplified by AeroGlass.

AeroGlass

A great example of a company using augmented reality for navigation is AeroGlass who is perfecting their technology in the aerospace industry. They use a headmounted display to provide pilots AR views of navigation information in 360 degrees, weather, villages, flight plans, airports, and more.

Both applications for augmented reality and the hardware itself is opening major opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups to enter this niche.

Grand View Research also expects the augmented reality hardware segment–which includes sensors, processors, and displays–to grow at a whopping CAGR of nearly 90% by 2024.

 

VR will be big, AR will be bigger and take longer.”

According to DigiCapital, “VR will be big, AR will be bigger and take longer.” In their report, they expect the VR/AR industry to be driven by mobile augmented reality and to hit $108 billion by 2021.

In the short term, we can expect to see augmented reality headsets and mixed reality as well as even more AR in the mobile space and in retail, according to Augment.

Because this field is likely to gain even greater traction and attention in the coming years, now is an excellent time for forward-thinking entrepreneurs to dip their toes into the industry.

 

What do you expect and hope to see from augmented reality? Have you used it already? Let us know in the comments below!