The luxury sedan and SUV maker has come up with a very innovative way of harnessing technology to improve all-round visibility in its cars and has a very novel, even spooky take on improving the way sat nav systems give drivers directions.
One of the ironies of designing cars that are safer in accidents is that the extra reinforcements around doors and windows for mitigating the effects of an impact reduce visibility. This in turn can increase the possibility of having an accident -- albeit one with a lesser chance of injury thanks to all of those reinforcements.
But what if all of the pillars were transparent, giving the driver true all-around visibility? That's the jumping-off point for Jaguar Land Rover's latest high-tech driver safety research. The company is looking at integrating screens into the ‘A' pillars on either side of the windshield and the ‘B' and ‘C' pillars too (which fall between the front and rear passenger doors and the rear doors and the car's trunk, respectively) so that the driver can see other vehicles and pedestrians that would otherwise be obscured.
And the system would be a smart one in as much as it would only be activated when needed. So, for example, when changing lanes the car would know to automatically turn on the ‘B' and ‘C' pillar screen to coincide with the driver glancing over his or her shoulder to check the blind spot before pulling out and overtaking.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: "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. 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."
The system would be integrated into the company's head up display technology which would also flag up and highlight cyclists or pedestrians that could cross the car's path, for instance.
But that's just the start. Jaguar Land Rover is also developing a ‘Ghost Car' which could become the ultimate in satellite navigation. Instead of glancing down at a map on a console display and listening to verbal directions wouldn't it be easier to just follow the car in front if you knew it was traveling to the same destination? The idea is to project a virtual car on to the road ahead that does know the route.
"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," said Dr Epple. "We want to present all of this information on a Heads-Up Display in the driver's eye-line, so the driver doesn't have to seek it out for themselves and take their eyes off the road ahead."