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Jaguar is making ghost cars real
Being stuck behind a ghost car on Gran Turismo traditionally means you’re off lap record pace. If Jaguar Land Rover’s tech boffins get their way, it will - in the real world - instead be a sign you’re obeying orders quite nicely.
Here’s how it’ll work. A massive Heads-Up Display (HUD) will project a virtual ‘follow-me ghost car’ (LR’s words) onto the road ahead of the driver, the virtual car making the relevant turns according to the sat nav’s directions. It’s a rather clever idea, and should put an end to indecisiveness when, say, two right turns are in very close succession, or on a roundabout with a dizzying array of exits to negotiate.
The only downside we can see is returning to our joypad-wielding roots by feverishly trying to carry more speed than the ghost car. Given JLR is touting safety as the biggest driver for developments like this, that’s surely something it won’t allow.
Dr Wolfgang Epple is JLR’s Director of Research and Technology. “Driving on city streets can be a stressful experience, but imagine being able to drive across town without having to look at road signs, or be distracted trying to locate a parking space as you drive by,” he said.
“We want to present all of this information on a Heads-Up Display in the driver’s eye-line, so the driver doesn’t have to seek it out for themselves and take their eyes off the road ahead.”
The other genius-sounding tech Epple’s team is working on is ‘see-through’ A-pillars. No, that doesn’t mean they’re made of glass (bad for safety), but rather they will become screens, projecting a live feed of images recorded by blind-spot covering cameras all around the car (lovely for safety).
The idea is that cyclists and pesky lane-swappers can be spotted without the driver averting their gaze from straight ahead.
When blind-spot awareness is less of an issue, the screens can also be used to locate parking spaces and cheap petrol prices (and, we’d assume, given that we’re gazing ahead into the e-future, nearby charging sockets).
Another potential advantage - previewed by Land Rover’s Discovery Vision concept earlier in 2014 - would be a better view of the topography you’re scampering over when off-roading, to avoid nasty rocks and ruts.
All exciting stuff, especially as we’re used to seeing the German big three leading on stuff like this. And wouldn’t it be handy for learning racing lines, too?