Land Rover’s “invisible bonnet technology”

Land Rover reveals “Transparent Bonnet” virtual imaging concept

  • Will consumers will want this technology?
  • How does Land Rovers’ effort stack-up against competitors in terms of technology used?

“In my opinion . . .”

This is a very cool concept: Land Rover’s new invisible technology that allows drivers to peer through the front of the car to see what’s on the ground and the direction of the tires. Cameras will be attached to the grille of the car which will feed data to a display that can be activated for drivers to see through the front. The technology makes the front only partially transparent so drivers can still see the contours.

In part, Land Rover’s press department stated this:

“Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology for Jaguar Land Rover said: ‘We believe the next 25 years will be the most exciting and dynamic the automotive industry has ever experienced. There will be huge strides in environmental innovation, in safety and capability. As our vehicles become more capable and autonomous off-road, we will ensure the driver has the confidence to allow the car to continue to progress, over any terrain. We are developing new technologies including the Transparent Bonnet to give drivers an augmented view of reality to help them tackle anything from the toughest off-road route to the tight confines of an urban car park.'”

That’s really something . . . except the part about autonomous off-road. No more participation and engagement while off-roading? Where’s the fun and satisfaction in that—being just along for the ride?

I’ve had a full decade of four wheeling experience—most of it high in the Colorado Rockies—and I can tell you this is a fantastic idea for those who are seriously into off-roading. For instance: when climbing a hill, at the crest you see only sky and it can be quite unnerving. This would presumably help with that. It’s also good when slowly navigating around sharp or large rocks, preventing damage to the suspension or a tire puncture (been there, done that).

But is this feature mainly intended for those who seriously go four wheeling? Last I recall reading, less than seven percent of Land Rover owners go off road, so it’s really just another feature to sell to make people feel “off roady.”

I see two small problems when one does go off road: What happens when the camera gets splashed with mud? Is the camera safe and protected from potentially coming in contact with Mother Earth in tight terrain? When that happens, you are back to using your skill and instincts.

Still, I do think it’s a good idea . . .  and would like to have it next time I go four wheeling.

Of course, if the Queen of England uses this feature while driving her Land Rover while up at Balmoral, it’ll probably be to keep from running over her Corgis.

Image credit: Land Rover Media Centre



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