Land Rover is a brand of Jaguar Land Rover and is known for its rugged, premium and luxurious SUV’s. It was acquired by TATA Motors in 2008. All the SUV’s from this brand have been a huge success in the automotive markets across the globe. Land Rover has showcased its discovery concept at 2014 Newyork Auto show and will come with a sport model early next year. It will join the family of SUV’s built on the Land Rover platform and has new features, keeping customer- vehicle interaction in mind.
Land Rover discover defines itself as a rugged SUV with luxurious space for seven along with premium exterior styling. Discover is unique in the technologies which are applied to easily surpass the off-road challenges often faced during adventure rides. Now, we will go through the latest technologies installed in this concept SUV.
TERRAIN RESPONSE LASER SCANNING:
Being a SUV, it is important that this car should easily pass through all type of road conditions. It is important for the driver to interact with the vehicle during off-road conditions, be it sand or snow. Land Rover has already pioneered this in its previous SUV’s where a knob can be adjusted by the driver in order to change the suspension and power train settings depending on the road surfaces. In the discovery sport concept, laser scanning technology has replaced the knob. The infrared lasers are installed in the fog lamps to view the terrain ahead and automate the terrain response settings. Also, in addition to that a high resolution screen is installed for getting a topographical look ahead and finding a best possible way out of it.
The next generation response system which will involve road surface texture detection. A water depth sensing system making use of lasers will help in identifying the depth of water bodies and thereby giving the green signal for the under body clearance available for crossing it. Other technologies include the wet grass traction control and high or low speed steering assist.
A more sophisticated cruise control feature for off-road drive is introduced. If the off-road terrain is not predictable, a semi- automatic cruise control will take over, where the vehicle will be operated at low speeds with appropriate torque vectoring. A guide mode is also installed which will allow the driver to select the type on in-built off-road conditions like muddy, sand, snow, rocks etc. Thus there will always be a balance between the automatic off-road cruise control and the driver’s involvement in it.
A new technology named “Transparent Hood” is introduced in Land Rover Discovery. As the name suggests , you might think of it as a transparent body but is not. The transparency is due to the projection of the images captured by road texture detecting cameras. The images are projected on the heads up display on the windshield. Thus the driver sees the road and not the hood. It makes him feel as if the hood is transparent. The projection can also be made onto the exterior windows. These glasses are named as smart glasses, hence all the glass surfaces actually behave as a multi screen display.
Gesture controls have the tendency to impose risk while driving and are thus under the development stage.As of now they are commonly used for infotainment systems. The motion sensors capable of recognizing the finger and hand movements. Apart from infotainment, they will be made to sense gear shifting, opening and closing of doors and activating lights. These technologies are surely going to take human-vehicle interaction to a new level.
Four of the interior seats have infotainment screens. The vehicle is equipped with laser headlamps and are 10% in size of LED’s. Thus there is huge potential in exploring the front end design of the vehicle. There is no compromise in terms of light output range which is upto 300m. In order to prevent the blinding of the drivers in the coming cars, smart automatic dimming is added to the laser headlamps. Cameras will detect the traffic and accordingly activate dimming of the light and proper visibility will be maintained for driving.
All the above mentioned technologies are pave way to reduce driver’s work in the vehicle. If the technologies are applied with proper validation and testing in all driving scenarios, this would definitely start a new era of driver-less cars. It will also help in reduction of driver fatigue occurring during long drives. Land Rover Discovery certainly has the potential to demonstrate such technologies on road and drive a new era of human oriented engineering in automobiles.