Jaguar Land Rover has revealed two new prototype technologies that could make life a lot easier for motorists. Transparent pillars and a “virtual” windscreen could become commonplace in future models from the automaker.
They’re both updates for the 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen research project, which resulted in a transparent bonnet for the Discovery Sport, useful for when one seeks to avoid potential danger while driving off-road.
“Our ultimate aim is to reduce road accidents and enhance the urban driving experience. The Jaguar Land Rover research team is developing this technology to improve visibility and to give the driver with the right information at the right time,” said the manufacturer’s director of research and technology, Dr Wolfgang Epple. “If we can keep the driver’s eyes on the road ahead and present information in a non-distracting way, we can help drivers make better decisions in the most demanding and congested driving environments,” he added.
Screens show a live video feed from cameras covering the angles outside the car usually obscured in the blind spots created by the A, B and C pillars, thus giving the occupants a 360 degree virtual view of the road ahead.
Pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles would be visible all around the car – and by combining the transparent pillars with an advanced high quality heads-up display, the movement of other road users could be highlighted to the driver with an on-screen halo moving across the car’s virtual windscreen.
The full potential for the 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen would be delivered by connecting the virtual windscreen to the Cloud network. By connecting the car to roadside infrastructure and businesses in the urban landscape, the Virtual Urban Windscreen could present information ranging from petrol station prices to the number of parking spaces available, so drivers won’t have to look for this information themselves.
“Driving on city streets can be a stressful experience, but imagine being able to drive across town without having to look at road signs, or be distracted trying to locate a parking space as you drive by,” added Dr Epple.