April 14, 2014 report
Land Rover demos invisible bonnet / car hood (w/ video)
(Phys.org) —Land Rover has released a video demonstrating a part of its Discover Vision Concept—the invisible "bonnet" or as it's known in the U.S. the "hood" of the car. It's a concept the automaker is planning to show off at the New York International Auto Show later this month.
The invisible or transparent bonnet is just what it sounds like, or nearly so. It's where the hood, the engine and frame are all made to appear as if nearly transparent as a driver scoots on down the road. That means the driver can actually see the front wheels and the terrain over which they are traversing. The whole point is to give the driver a more immersive experience as they travel, presumably off-road over terrain that requires a lot more navigating than the average road—though the same technology could possibly assist drivers in averting pot-holes in city streets. Allowing the driver to see the front wheels lets them note which direction they are turned, offering more perspective and perhaps more time to react.
The invisible bonnet comes about courtesy of cameras mounted in the grill and beneath the vehicle. They capture what is going on in real time below and just in front of the vehicle and send it to a display device that splashes the imagery across the windshield (in heads-up fashion). The result is an eerie feeling of floating as the car moves forward, allowing for a much better view of what is actually transpiring just ahead and below. The invisible bonnet would be of particularly good use in a Land Rover, as they are notorious for having too much obstruction up front.
The heads-up display also offers data information such as speed, roll angle, incline, drive mode and steering position, giving the driver the feeling of having more control over every aspect of their vehicle than ever before. The invisible bonnet is a form of augmented reality and offers hints of what is to come for all drivers in the near future—information that can help drivers get where they are going faster, with less stress and in safer fashion. Representatives for the company said they believe that the next twenty five years will be a time of big changes for the automobile, perhaps the most in its entire history. If the invisible bonnet is any indication, they might just be right.
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