What’s a GPS-maker to do when we’re all relying on our smartphones for directions? In Garmin’s case, the answer is a gadget that makes navigational smartphone apps safer and more useful.

Garmin today announced the HUD (short for heads-up display), a $130 gadget that connects to its StreetPilot and Navigon apps over Bluetooth and projects key navigation information onto your car’s windshield. For most drivers, it offers a huge safety advantage, since it keeps navigation details within your line of sight.

The HUD tells you where to turn, your distance to your next turn, current speed, as well as the local speed limit. It can also alert you of traffic delays. Since the HUD works together with Garmin’s existing apps, it doesn’t need to recreate any mapping details. Garmin claims its gadget offers up more navigation details than any competing heads-up display.

Eventually, this is the sort of information we’ll see projected on all of our car windshields (some high-end cars already offer speed information on the windshield). Heads-up displays likely won’t remove the need for additional screens completely though — there’s only so much information we can cram onto a windshield without becoming a visibility hazard. Instead, I expect we’ll see more things like Tesla’s huge dashboard tablet working together with information on heads-up displays.

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.