Anyone who's played a modern video game knows there's 3D and then there's 3D. Many GPS systems already provide for virtual 3D displays of buildings and surface features, but now technology is getting ready to push in-car navigation systems to true 3D.

The display technology uses a dual-image LCD to shows pairs of slightly offset images that compose to form a 3D image with actual depth. The possibilities the technology could have for interface design, augmented reality and mapping have sparked the interest of some of the biggest names in the business.

Garmin, Tom-Tom and Navman are all working on the technology, according to AutoExpress.

As usual, the tech is expected to start out at the upper tiers of the market, trickling down from there as production volumes drive down costs. One of the first companies to make the jump into 3D is likely to be Land Rover, which already has 3D-Ready screens available as an option in its vehicles.

3M has already been working on similar technology, specifically for automotive implementations, for over a year. Instead of two screens, however, the 3M system uses a special film on the back of a panel that allows the display of both 2D and 3D information, allowing overlays on top of the 3D display for extra information.

The first aftermarket dual-image LCD solutions could be available as early as next year, with OEMs to follow.