If you’ve been feeling like us, like you’ve been shortchanged by the promises of your childhood and the under-delivery of the modern era—at least when it comes to cars—look no further than this innovation from Land Rover. It’s not The Jetsons, but it’s something those bleebling little space car drivers never even thought of. It’s the Transparent Bonnet.
Here in the U.S., we’d call it (and Land Rover USA does, too) a Transparent Hood. But that unassuming name doesn’t quite convey the simple brilliance and complex technology behind it.
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Using a web of camera images and projectors, the Transparent Hood system projects the area just in front of and underneath the nose of the Land Rover concept car onto a head-up display along the lower portion of the windshield. The effect is breathtaking, offering the ability to see obstacles and terrain that would otherwise be hidden, and to allow precise placement of the vehicle’s front wheels—both key improvements to the off-roading experience.
Part of a suite of new technologies to be showcased on the Land Rover Discovery Vision concept car at the 2014 New York Auto Show, the Transparent Hood is a demonstration of what’s possible today using the thinking of tomorrow.
In addition to the unprecedented view of the terrain under the nose, the system also relays a head-up display of key vehicle data, including speed, incline, roll angle, steering position, and drive mode.
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The solution isn’t solely intended for the expedition off-roader, either. It’s thought to be useful in an urban environment, too. “As our vehicles become more capable and offer increasing autonomy off-road, we will ensure the driver has the confidence to progress over any terrain,” says Dr. Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology for Jaguar Land Rover. “We are developing new technologies including the Transparent Hood to give drivers an augmented view of reality to help them tackle anything from the toughest off-road route to the tight confines of urban parking.”
Look for more details on the technology inside the Discovery Vision concept, including live photos and more, from the 2014 New York Auto Show next week.
Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept's Transparent Hood technology