The Discovery Vision points the way for a family of Discovery vehicles that will begin to arrive on the market in 2015. The vehicle’s new design is already splitting opinion, but the concept also showcases an array of weird and wonderful tech.
Off-road visibility is a key theme. Transparent Bonnet (revealed last week) projects an image of the terrain underneath the bonnet onto a head-up display, merging it with the driver’s real view of the road ahead. There’s also Laser Referencing, which uses visible lasers to project markings and symbols onto ground surfaces, and laser headlamps with ‘intelligent object tracking’.
Terrain Response also gets an overhaul, with Laser Terrain Scanning using infrared lasers to scan the route ahead, and rendering it on a contour map on the instrument cluster. The map can then be paired with All-Terrain Coach guidance, which charts a safe path and shows the driver how to negotiate it – we heard this was in development around the time of the DC100’s reveal in 2011. The lasers also allow Wade Aid to measure the depth of water even before the car enters it. Then there’s All-Terrain Progress Control that allows semi-autonomous off-road driving at a steady speed across rough terrain.
The interior, always one of the Discovery’s selling points, has also been occupying Land Rover’s little grey cells. The seven seats can be folded and slid from the touchscreen menu, which also allows the car to be converted into a four-seat ‘limousine’ mode, and detachable luggage is stowed within the doors.
Some of the new tech is probably a bit overkill. Remote Control Drive – literally a remote control, for manoeuvring off-road at low speeds – could be a recipe for disaster. There’s also a new package of Human-Machine Interface technology (HMI) including something called Smart Glass, turning the glass surfaces into an ‘augmented reality’ environment, and Gesture Control which uses hand gestures to control various functions. We’ll be calling that ‘Harry Potter Assist’.
Land Rover’s plan is for the Discovery to be ‘the ultimate leisure SUV’ (making the soon-to-be-extinct Defender even more unique), and for the SUV-lovers, this is certainly an important car. But anyone who thinks of a Discovery as a workhorse will be disappointed by the emphasis on design and cutting-edge tech. It’s certainly a much sleeker vehicle that the current Discovery, but in terms of design, we think it looks a little conservative, especially compared to the radical Discovery 3. The last time Land Rover went mad on a concept, the DC100, enthusiasts fell by the wayside in droves, so maybe you can’t blame them for treading carefully with this one.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: ‘The Discovery Vision Concept shows the breadth of innovative, intelligent technologies being developed in order to offer our future customers unprecedented capability across any kind of terrain.’