RAC Cars News


Land Rover's transparent bonnet

By raccars Published

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Land Rover will be hoping to wow the crowds at the New York Motor Show this month with its James Bond-esque new camera system, to help identify road surface hazards beneath the bonnet. While the augmented reality concept is aimed at off-roaders who need to identify rocky and unstable surfaces, the same futuristic technology could be useful for negotiating potholes in the city.

The X-ray vision effect is created by mounting cameras in the front grille and projecting a head up display onto the windscreen, jet fighter style. The grille mounted cameras capture the landscape of the terrain ahead, which is then transferred digitally to the windscreen, on the same kind of head up display system already used to convey driving information and satellite navigation instructions in some premium brand vehicles. However the Discovery Vision display will be the full width of a 'smart' windscreen, rather than restricted to a portion of the driver's view. In effect the image of the road below is superimposed onto the bonnet panel, giving an appearance of partial transparency to the bonnet and engine bay. The driver can not only get a very clear view of the terrain they are crossing but also the position, angle and degree of lock on the wheels.

Land Rover has developed the system for off-roading so that drivers can negotiate crevices, rocks and ruts even up steep hills but it could also help urban drivers to avoid potholes and navigate parking. The company believes this and a number of other high tech efforts it intends to install will give it a definite advantage over its competitors in the premium leisure SUV sector.

A prototype, not intended for production, showcasing the transparent bonnet and other new technologies will be introduced at the New York International Auto Show next week, called 'Discovery Vision', at the same time that the company will be showcasing its new Discovery family design language and a corporate repositioning for the firm. This will be seen first on a more compact version of the Discovery that will replace the Freelander next year, followed by an all new, full size Discovery in 2016.

The new Discovery range will be more modern, stylish and sporty looking than previous versions, designed for customers prioritising everyday practicality, as much as agile, off roading ability.

Land Rover plans to offer the transparent bonnet as an option in the future.

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