Car News

Jaguar Land Rover develops virtual windscreen

Jaguar Land Rover develops virtual windscreen and gesture control to reduce driver distraction.

LESS THAN 24 HOURS after Jaguar Land Rover announced it was working on a self-learning car, it’s announced it’s also working on offering drivers an “enhanced ‘virtual’ view of the road” via a windscreen that doubles as a display.

What does that mean? Called the ‘Jaguar Virtual Windscreen’ concept it turns the entire windscreen into a head-up display so that a driver’s eyes never need to leave the road ahead. “High quality hazard, speed and navigation icons could all be projected onto the screen together,” Jaguar Land Rover said in a press release.

Jaguar Land Rover said the technology could also be used aid drivers on a race track:

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  • Racing line and braking guidance – Virtual racing lines would be displayed on the windscreen but would appear to be marked on the track ahead, offering the driver the best chance of maintaining the racing line, with colour changes to indicate when you should brake.
  • Ghost car racing – To improve lap times a ‘ghost car’ visualisation of your car on a previous lap could be projected onto the windscreen, or in a thought straight out of Play Station’s Gran Turismo you could compete against a lap uploaded from another driver.
  • Virtual cones – For driver training, virtual cones could be laid out on the track. These could be moved virtually as the driver’s ability improves.

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Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We are working on research projects that will give the driver better information to enhance the driving experience. By presenting the highest quality imagery possible, a driver need only look at a display once. Showing virtual images that allow the driver to accurately judge speed and distance will enable better decision-making and offer real benefits for every-day driving on the road, or the track.”

And, if you’ve seen Iron Man and lusted after a gesture-oriented computer system like the one he’s got in his workshop, then Jaguar Land Rover’s boffins gesture control system might just be the next best thing.

According to Jaguar Land Rover, its gesture control research uses E-Field Sensing, “which is based on the latest capacitive discharge touch screens and gives much greater accuracy than ever before.

“A smartphone today detects the proximity of a user’s finger from 5mm. The Jaguar Land Rover system increases the range of the sensing field to around 15cm which means the system can be used to accurately track a user’s hand and any gestures it makes inside the car.

“Gesture control has already become an accepted form of controlling anything from TV sets to games consoles. The next logical step is to control selected in-car features. We have identified which functions still need to be controlled by physical buttons and which could be controlled by gesture and carefully calibrated motion sensors,” said Dr Epple.

“The system is currently being tested on a number of features including sunblinds, rear wipers and satellite navigation maps. It has the potential to be on-sale within the next few years.”

Jaguar Land Rover’s boffins are also looking at technology that could do away with the need for rear vision and external rear vision mirrors. But, using only 2D imaging to replace mirrors makes it impossible to judge the distance or speed of approaching traffic, so, Jaguar Land Rover is developing a 3D instrument cluster, which incorporates head- and eye-tracking technology to “create a natural-looking, specs-free 3D image on the instrument panel.

“Cameras positioned in the instrument binnacle or steering column area track the position of the user’s head and eyes. Software then adjusts the image projection in order to create a 3D effect by feeding each eye two slightly differing angles of a particular image. This creates the perception of depth which allows the driver to judge distance.”


Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober