As Dr. Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology at Jaguar Land Rover, recently stated “The car of the future will become more capable, cleaner, more connected, more desirable and more intelligent”. These are the five areas that Land Rover team have been working on over the last few years. Their recent announcement at the New York Motor Show however seems to hint at a sharper focus on the “connected” and “intelligent” side of things.
The most groundbreaking concept to be unveiled was Vision Concept, a system by which the bonnet appears transparent to the driver via augmented reality. Cameras on the undercarriage relay footage which is projected onto the heads up display, thus allowing the driver to judge terrain more effectively than ever. Laser guiding, laser lighting and remote drive will also feature, offering the driver all encompassing off road solutions.
Along with this, Land Rover are promising a futuristic gesture control system. Taking inspiration from many of the current in-house products from the likes of Apple and Nest Labs, users will have the ability to control everything from the lights to the gear shift. Smart Glass will also be a main focal point, acting as a heads up display for the Sat Nav and Dashboard. This glass will also act as fully customizable panels for the driver and passengers allowing for potential app integration and media streaming.
Land Rover’s announcements come in wake of a year dominated by In-House / In-Car tech reveals. Apple, Samsung and Google have all made plays toward the automotive industry, offering their own dashboard solutions and looking to fully integrate their smartphone technology. Tesla are also boasting full voice activated, data connected services for inside their latest models.
Land Rover have clearly made a conscious effort to position themselves as a technology leader. In such a fast moving space, staying ahead of the pack in such developments will garner media attention and interest globally. Stressing that they are “enabling versatility, not technology for the sake of it”, the SUV giant are clearly aiming to translate their stellar engineering and functionality into the tech space. The innovations they are pursuing are purely based on pre-existing issues to which tech is the perfect solution, not creating issues to solve with unnecessary (and potentially distracting) technology.
The future of such innovation will be fascinating to watch unfold. Telecom companies will be looking to secure In-Car cellular data plan exclusivity and advertisers will be battling for use of this entirely new medium. Safety will have to take precedent over innovation throughout developments. Distracted drivers or unsafe systems could be massive bumps in the road for this first wave of automotive smart technology. Boasting functionality, safety and connectivity however will see Land Rover at the front of the race. Undoubtedly others will be close behind.