Jaguar Land Rover has officially launched its new Virtual Windscreen technology, which offers drivers a full 360-degree view of the road.
Currently under development by the marque’s team of engineers, the new feature blends cutting-edge heads up display technology and cameras to display driver information and increase visibility.
The Virtual Windscreen also uses special screens embedded in the surface of each pillar inside the car, displaying a live video feed from the cameras placed on the outside of the car.
In effect, the screens render the pillars “invisible”, allowing drivers to see through them and as a result see potential hazards and obstructions that would have been previously obscured by them.
Driving obstacles more visible
As a result, Jaguar Land Rover claims that pedestrians, cyclists and smaller vehicles will all be more visible, while the heads-up display can also highlight and track oncoming cars.
In addition, the system will automatically make the pillars transparent on the corresponding sides when drivers activate their indicators, so motorists can look through the pillars as they turn their heads.
According to the company’s director of research and technology, Dr Wolfgang Epple, the aim is to reduce the number of road accidents and also to enhance driving experience in urban areas.
He said: “The Jaguar Land Rover research team is developing this technology to improve visibility and to give the driver with the right information at the right time.
“If we can keep the driver’s eyes on the road ahead and present information in a non-distracting way, we can help drivers make better decisions in the most demanding and congested driving environments.”
As well as increasing safety, Jaguar Land Rover has high hopes for more widespread applications of the Virtual Windscreen technology, by connecting it to the Cloud via in-car Wi-Fi.
This means that the system could display handy information like nearby petrol station prices to the number of parking spaces available, beamed straight onto the driver’s windscreen.
Navigation information could also be displayed, negating the need for drivers glancing at smaller satnavs and placing route information at eye level in order to reduce distraction.
One of the more fun applications will also include what’s currently being referred to as “Follow-Me Ghost Car Navigation”, which projects a virtual image of a car in front for drivers to follow.
Dr Epple added: “Driving on city streets can be a stressful experience, but imagine being able to drive across town without having to look at road signs, or be distracted trying to locate a parking space as you drive by.
“We want to present all of this information on a Heads-Up Display in the driver’s eye-line, so the driver doesn’t have to seek it out for themselves and take their eyes off the road ahead.”