Is Heads-up Display (HUD) Legal in NSW/Australia?

Hello fellow OzBees

I am looking for some info on the usage of Heads-up display (HUD) in the car. My car is 3 years old, very 'A to B' purpose one and doesn't have the HUD. Lack of digital dial also make it a bit difficult to read the speed. I was looking for a digital speedo and found out that OBD2 based HUD can serve the purpose.

But not sure about the legality of using HUD display. I searched the RMS site but couldn't locate any such info. Are these allowed in NSW/Australia? If its something we can use, what are the rules / regulations around it?

Also, the one I looked at is projecting the info on a plastic screen. It actually has minimal info shown. (Some new ones are really cluttered with overloads of info shown on the screen). In the night it will definitely be visible to the oncoming traffic (when you look from the front side of the car). Will that be treated as distraction? (well not forgetting that LED light is smiling at full strength a few inches below). Is it the same for the factory fitted HUD usually seen on premium cars like BMW, Audi etc ( Or using some technology, the projection wont be visible from outside but just from inside the car?)

Appreciate if you can provide some details. Thanks :)



  • +2 votes

    Some cars have built in HUDs, e.g BMW's and even mainstream cars like the Mazda3. You can also buy them from local stores e.g JB Hifi and Harvey norman stocks them.

    I don't think they count as VDU's as they are a 'Vehicle monitoring device' and is a 'driver aid', the same category that rearview cameras fall into. relevant legislation here


      That, coupled with this seems to make it pretty clear that you could literally use a phone as a speedo as along as it's in a mount.

      Use as a driver's aid (e.g. navigation, Speed Advisor app or dispatch system)

      So a HUD should be fine.


      Thanks mate. I saw jb and HN selling it. Also there were some reports that driver was booked because passenger did a video call. This is considered as distracting.

      There is no law that forbids the driver from driving with the cabin lights on. But cops can book you citing distraction to self and/or other drivers.

      I sent an email to RMS today to see what they have to say. I will update the thread once I get some information back from them.


    Legal because some cars come factory fitted with them and they wouldn't pass compliance (?) if they weren't legal.


      This is where I got confused. None of my friends has the recent model of BMW or Audi to check what it looks like. There are videos on YouTube showing how it looks from inside, but not outside from an oncoming vehicle's view.


    Been using one of these for nearly 10 years. They don't project on the windscreen. Its an all in one unit.


      Initially I thought of buying one like that. When I saw the see through one with minimum info, uncluttered one, I thought I should give a try.

  • +1 vote

    WHooooaaa that would be so awesome to have a holographic HUD display on your windscreen, for GPS coordinates of your location and destination target!


      Either the technology isn't there yet, or manufacturers cannot put it in. All the ones I've seen from the early 90s to the 2010s, I haven't really been impressed with. Maybe my expectations have been too high thanks to sci-fi movies?


    Or using some technology, the projection wont be visible from outside but just from inside the car?

    I've never seen a HUD in another vehicle. Admittedly I'm not on the look out for these things, but they make use of "total internal reflection". Without going into the specifics of it, when you shine a light onto glass at the correct angle, 100% (in theory) of that light reflects off the glass and does not actually go through the glass. I say in theory only in so far as what works "100%" in theory often has something less than 100% in practice for a variety of reasons.

    The key point though, is without the reflection you would not be able to see the HUD inside the car, so clearly some percentage very close to 100% is reflecting. To look at it the other way, if it's not reflecting, it's leaving the vehicle and therefore is not usable (as the image from the HUD is not reflecting into the car).


      Thanks. It make sense. Even the mirror works on that principle. I haven't got the unit. I will give a try with the angle one I get it.

      If it's not reflection, it should be photochromatic material and gets engergised/activated when light passes through.

      • +1 vote

        the cheap HUD I bought from Aliexpress comes with a darkened plastic sheet with an adhesive side. If you stick it on the windshield it acts as a combiner, but if choose not to use it, the windshield will still reflect the HUD, but you get a double vision effect.

        That's because car windshields are not a single layer of glass — it's a sandwich of glass and laminate


    Had one for ages in a Prius V but now I'm driving a different car without one, I much prefer to have the HUD as it's easier to check your speed without having take your eyes off the road.


    "Lack of digital dial also make it a bit difficult to read the speed."

    What have we come to that we can no longer read a speedometer.


      The speedometer is fine but there can be a bit of variance in there, you have to admit that. My phone tells me I'm going exactly 103km an hour, for example, whereas the speedometer is essential just a dial saying "mmmm yeah 100km, a tad over". There's nothing wrong with wanting to know your exact speed.


        Yep, I understand that.
        And my car has both a digital and analogue speedo. Funnily enough, both read exactly the same, so any 'variance' would still be in place via a HUD (assuming it is based on the car-based info).


          Errors between different speedos isn't what they are talking about. It's how accurate you can read any analog speedo.

          Can you easily tell if your analog is at 102, 103, or 104? Especially at a quick glance? And accounting for any parallax error due to design of the analog speedo, such as the thickness of the dial arm and distance from the gauge?


            @crentist: I admit that I can't tell if I am going 102 or 103 (on my analogue display).

            But I can tell if I am showing as over 100 on that display.
            That's probably all I need to know.


    I had one from Kogan.
    It works.
    But it didn't last long before the display started to playing up.
    Maybe it can't stand the summer heat.

  • -2 votes

    It is. And it's awesome, and safer, and easier to use. Wish I had one, analogue speedos are awful and require taking your eyes completely off the road. Currently I watch the speed on the GPS mounted to the windscreen which is more accurate, easier to read and at least I'm still looking ahead. Can't wait until they're the norm, it really doesn't cost much at all for manufacturers to implement and is becoming more common now.

  • -1 vote

    I have one that projects onto the windscreen. Two years ago, was stopped for a breath test. Cop saw the HUD, asked what it was and couldn't care less. So judging by that I don't think it's illegal.


      Cops are renowned for having their own interpretation of the law. Not always correct either. Just because one didn’t pick up a modern technology as legal or not doesn’t mean that it is.

      It probably is legal, but basing your assumption on one policeman’s interpretation might not be accurate.


    dad's Nissan had HUD in about 1986…


      No, it didn’t :)


        Remind me which year Nissan Pintara Ti had HUD and cornering lights. Wasn't it the U12? So 1989? And I did say "about 1986".

        I've drunk about 9000 beers since then so apologies if the memory is a bit rusty :-)

        And the U13 Bluebird SSS definitely had it as I had the (faster) base model LX and yearned for a HUD.

  • Top