I have always been an avid petrol-head since I got my first little red Ferrari back in the summer of 2006. My passion for motor vehicles is almost on par with my passion for technology and the IT industry as a whole. Many concepts come and go at the Geneva Motor Show, which is famous for being the home for weird and wonderful concept creations. However, concepts have always been focused on the appearance of the vehicles. How the curves follow down the bodywork, the sharp edges and prominent features and, of course, the futuristic (and sometimes subtle) styling of the headlights, rear lights and even the wing mirrors.
Although this blog comes a little bit behind the news, many still may not know what Jaguar Land Rover have up their sleeves. They may also not know that this very concept will change the face of car interiors and catapult in-car technology to a whole new era. This concept is known as the 360 Virtual Windscreen and is, in my opinion, the most impressive piece of technology to hit the car industry. This new phenomenon allows the driver to experience a virtual presentation which ranges from enhanced Satellite Navigation, to statistics and costings of nearby car parks and fuel stations.
Midway through last December, the research project was set to enable drivers to totally change the way they drive and, ultimately, enhance their perceptions of the surroundings. The windscreen itself has a virtual interface which is connected seamlessly with Cloud Technology. For those who are unaware of cloud technology (I can’t imagine there are many), this gives us the ability to store, send and retrieve data that is stored remotely, at a simple click of a button. It is this sensation that is illustrated as being ‘in the cloud’. This same technology allows the windscreen to feed data from the internet and illustrate it to the driver in a way that really matters.
For example, if you have had the joy of using a standard sat nav device which can, more often or not, seem to be struggling to keep a grip of your current GPS location or if you have come across the common failure to recognise newly built roads and roundabouts (despite ensuring it is updated), you will be very pleased to hear about this new invention. The windscreen projects a ‘ghost’ image of a vehicle in front of you (if you wish to use this) that you can follow to ensure you take that correct turn or, if you aren’t paying attention, remember to stop at that red light! The technology also utilises ‘ghost’ road markings and highlights key landmarks/shops/pubs during your travels so you can identify that the road you have turned onto (or will be turning on to) is correct.
The technology even improves visibility by identifying cyclists and pedestrians on the windscreen so you can easily adjust your speed and plan your manoeuvre. Of course, there are still the bug-bares of the ‘blind spots’ which often taunt our efforts of being totally aware of our surroundings. Well, there was… That is until Jaguar included ‘Transparent Pillars’ in their designs. The clever technology consists of screens in each pillar (A, B and C) which remove the blind spots completely. Each pillar gives the impression of ‘transparency’ when the driver turns their head in the general direction of each pillar. This could be way of an overtaking manoeuvre, or simply wishing greatly visibility at an awkward junction (we all know at least one). This greatly enhances our driving experience by giving us the gift of true 360 visibility.
Another scenario, which expands on an early mention, involves information which is often crucial on journeys. This information can be the likes of how many spaces are currently available in a multi-storey car park, or what is the best price of unleaded between 6 petrol stations in a 15 mile radius. Fortunately for us, the drivers, the information can be obtained right in front of us without having to search for it. The windscreen, using cloud technology, retrieves the information directly from the internet (reliable sources) and displays it on the HUD at our convenience so that we can make our informed decision, on the spot, whether we can stop there and whether we have the best price in a feasible distance.
I, personally, am excited to see how this technology progresses from research and into production. It is stated that the technology will feature on the new line up of Jaguars and Land Rovers (including Range Rovers) but no date has yet been set.