Jaguar Concept Auto Has Transparent Pillars, Windshield HUD

Posted by at 1:28 pm on December 18, 2014

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Jaguar Land Rover, the British automotive company that is most famous for its Jaguar and Range Rover cars, has unveiled a concept car with an incredibly elaborate heads-up windshield display, combined with “transparent” pillars that provide full 360-degree vision and remove any blind spots that the pillars might’ve caused (modern cars, with heightened safety requirements, can have very beefy, obstructive pillars). Mario Kart fans in particular will like the advanced HUD: To help with navigation, it has a “ghost car” mode, which projects an image of a small semi-transparent car onto the windshield, showing you which lane to be in, which way to turn, etc.

Earlier in the year,  Jaguar Land Rover displayed its Transparent Bonnet (aka “Hood” for us Yanks) technology at the New York International Auto Show.  It used a windshield HUD to show you what was below the hood of the car. Now, Jaguar Land Rover is taking it to the next level with the 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen. (AKA “windshield,” my fellow Yanks)

The 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen combines a host of interesting technologies to improve road safety and reduce the stress of urban driving. To begin with, the concept car uses four transparent pillars — two at the front, two at the back — which allow the driver to see what’s outside the car. This is achieved by putting cameras on the outside of the car, and then displaying a video feed on screens that are on the four pillars. When you indicate, turn your head to look, or approach a junction, the pillar will become “transparent” — at all other times, it’ll just be a normal pillar.

While the transparent pillars are neat, the windshield HUD is definitely the centerpiece. Basically, it looks like the entire windshield is a big, fairly high resolution screen — and Jaguar Land Rover has come up with some interesting ways to make use of it. When cameras on the front of the car spot some kind of obstacle (a human, a cyclist), the HUD draws a red square around it. If you drive past a point of interest, a floating info box thing appears on your windshield to provide more data (the restaurant’s rating, the size of the parking lot, etc.) And then there’s Follow-Me Ghost Car Navigation, which puts a spectral, blue-glowing car on your windshield — and you follow it to your destination. The idea is that the car shows you which lane to be in, which turn to take, without the stress of trying to work out if your satnav wants you to take this left turn or the next.

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The Urban Windscreen, with transparent pillars and a red warning box around a pedestrian

For now, all of this Urban Windscreen stuff is just a concept, but clearly the tech will make it to road vehicles sooner rather than later. There’s nothing here that’s particularly over the top  but is isgoing to be very expensive when it first rolls out.

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