The Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept will feature an incredibly intuitive pairing of grille-mounted cameras with a heads-up display in the windshield. The setup will project the view obstructed by the SUV's hood onto the window, effectively creating a "transparent truck" from the driver's perspective.
Here's the system in action:
Land Rovers have been bristling with cameras to improve off-road navigation for years, and I can personally vouch for their usefulness in crossing log bridges. But knowing exactly what your wheels are getting into on a steep incline would be an invaluable tool in technical off-roading.
Director of Research and Technology for Jaguar Land Rover Dr. Wolfgang Epple, on the Transparent Hood (or, "transparent bonnet" in Britspeak):
"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. 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."
Ah, right... I suppose it will also be useful for battling the everyday challenges most Land Rovers really deal with in the wild; parking spaces ill-fit for stout SUVs.
But whether you use it to clear a river bed, cram between cars at Whole Foods, or impress your kids, there's no denying the "Transparent Hood" is one of the more practical utilizations of in-car heads up display tech we've seen so far. And I dare say that projected inclinometer and tilt gauge are pretty slick.
Dr. Epple putting the words"autonomy" and "off-road" next to each other does make me a little nervous though. Let's keep those Google Priuii off the trails, thanks fellas.
If this technology takes off, I wonder if drivers will eventually be reading gauges projected on to a completely "clear" car. Do you think the transparent hood will prove valuable and trickle down to more mainstream automobiles, or is it just going to be another bullet point on Land Rover's long list of toys?
Images: Land Rover, Andrew Collins