United States Patent Application: 0050171690 “A concept for providing navigation information is described. The concept includes a process for providing navigation information including deriving a destination for a first vehicle and determining a present location of the first vehicle. The process also includes computing maneuvering information from the destination and present location and adapting an image of a ghost vehicle in conformance with the maneuvering information.”

Clever!

Navigation systems generally call for interpreting abstractions - maps, written or spoken instructions - while driving. Adding to the driver’s mental workload is often not a good idea. Requiring the driver to take their eyes off the road is not a good thing.

A heads-up display with an on-screen display with a virtual “guide” car to follow means the driver’s eyes stay on the road, and requires near-zero interpretation. Hard to beat!

There is of course a minor catch. If the guidance system works most of the time, when a small error sends the “guide” car through a tree, the relaxed and trusting driver might follow…

Via Microsoft files for Phantom Car Patent