Next-gen Terrain Response
Terrain Scanning could take Terrain Response a step further by using infrared lasers to scan the route ahead, and automatically engage the appropriate traction settings. A map of the terrain could be projected onto the high-definition ‘cluster screen’ (although it remains to be seen just how useful that will be). Terrain Scanning could also improve the existing wade sensing technology by measuring the depth of a water crossing before the vehicle enters it.
Autonomous driving and Remote Control
It sounds like autonomous Land Rovers is closer than we think. All-Terrain Progress Control would allow a sort of intelligent cruise control for use at crawler speeds. Ok, but it gets a bit bizarre when they talk about Remote Control, which would let the driver chicken out of extreme off-roading and guide the vehicle remotely from a safe spot. Surely that's a recipe for disaster...
‘A JLR Intelligent vehicle will become a reality within the next 10 years,’ says Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology at JLR.Epple.
Human Machine Interface and ‘Smart’ glass
Passengers in the Discovery Vision are cocooned in ‘Smart’ glass, in all the windows, the panoramic roof and the windscreen. That means swipeable, clickable, and integrated infotainment screens, pretty much everywhere. Sounds cool, but what’s the point?
It might be helpful for tricky manoevres when visibility is blocked, but Epple is thinking bigger than that. ‘If you are driving past a landmark like the Empire State Building, you could imagine a Wikipedia page appearing on the smart glass, and a rear seat passenger swiping that information from the window to their infotainment screen or tablet’.
Human Machine Interface, including gesture and voice control
We’re told to expect Gesture Control ‘in the near future’ – that could mean in time for the 2015 Discovery Sport. Designated hand or finger movements will trigger functions such as the opening of the doors and tailgate. ‘We recognise that it is substantially more intuitive to use gestures than to press a button or turn a switch,’ Dr Epple says. Really? We’re not so sure.
Then he goes all Stark Trek on us… ‘In the next 25 years we will use gaze and biometrics to interact with the vehicle. The almost unlimited processing power of The Cloud will enable more sophisticated algorithms for speech recognition and interaction than could ever exist on board the car.’
Combine the existing parking cameras with a clever head-up display and you’ve got a ‘virtual imaging concept’ that effectively makes the front of the car disappear. Terrain normally hidden under the bonnet and engine, could be seen, including the exact position and direction of the front wheels. Brilliant, so long as mud can be kept off the cameras. They haven’t found a way so far (as we discovered in our Big Test – see the May issue!)
Laser projected images
Laser Referencing could project warning triangles onto the road in the event of a break down (or ‘stoppage’ as Land Rover prefers to call it). Parking aids could also be projected onto the ground and walls to help the driver negotiate tight spaces.
As a nod to the ‘hose out’ interiors of old, the Discovery Vision features an unusual wood veneer floor. It’s also trimmed with a special type of leather that’s water- and dirt-proof. The seats are clever too, and you can move them around to achieve four, five, six or seven seat configurations.