So, you thought cooled cupholders, touchscreens, and high-speed connectivity were the very latest in SUV technology? The Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept has lasers for eyes and it can be driven by smartphone.

At the New York auto show, the new Discovery Vision Concept shows off the style and technology Land Rover is planning for its next set of new vehicles.

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Land Rover used to sell the Discovery here but changed the SUV’s name to LR4. Starting next year, the LR4 and other Land Rovers will wear  the Discovery badge—think of Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Evoque and you’ve got the idea.

Back to the concept. Land Rover launched it on the deck of the USS Intrepid in New York with a laser light show—and for a good reason. The Discovery Concept is full of laser technology. The headlamps are lasers, and so are the fog lamps.

Since they’re lasers, they can scan the road ahead for obstacles, even road conditions, and transmit information to the driver. It’s projected on the car’s windows. The four-wheel-drive system uses that information to tell the driver which path to carve off-road. The lasers can even project a warning sign in case the car is disabled on the road—a Gotham City-style Bat-signal all its own.

The tech horsepower in the Discovery concept also includes a self-driving mode. It can be piloted autonomously—but the driver can also get out of the vehicle and steer it into a parking spot or over a boulder…via their smartphone.

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Now on the more practical side, the Discovery Concept has an interior decked out in classic Land Rover leather and tweed. It also has room to seat seven. Each of the seats in the middle row folds and slides independently—so it can be set up as a four-seat, with limousine leg room for the back seat, or as a five- or six-seater.

Four of those seats get their own 10-inch touch screens that can be controlled by hand gestures. There’s WiFi for passengers, and the ability to connect to the car’s network through tablets and smartphones. You can FaceTime from the front seat to the third row without having to turn around. First world problem…solved.

All that technology is in the development stages, but we’d look for some features to emerge starting next year, when Land Rover sets out to make some new Discoverys.


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