Land Rover gave the automotive press a sneak peek at the futuristic concept version of its Discovery luxury SUV on Monday to show off features such as remote control driving, a laser-measured parking assist system, and a "see-through" hood.
The hood is as fully opaque as the lid on any other vehicle, but one feature of the Discovery Vision Concept is designed to give the driver an unimpeded view of the road. Cameras installed in the front bumper send live video images to a heads-up display on the inside windshield.
The virtual view allows drivers to see the ground immediately in front of the wheels in a way that might not be possible if the hood actually were transparent but the engine were not.
In the Discovery Vision's cockpit, the wheel features OLED touchscreens that control the infotainment system, lights, and signals. Instruments appear on a 3 million-pixel high-res screen. One rotary controls gears, and the other detaches to become a remote control.
The inside cabin is equipped with a series of OLED touchscreens serving as control interfaces for the entertainment system, seat position, and other functions. All the interfaces can be controlled using smartphone-style gestures. The back of each seat holds an OLED screen-equipped "infotainment system," fold-down trays, coat hangers, and tablet docking ports, Land Rover said in a press release.
The concept version takes an unusually sophisticated approach to driver and parking assistance systems. A laser-measuring system is designed to offer more precision in parking than old-fashioned ultrasound, radar, or sensor wires.
In keeping with its off-road heritage, the Discovery Vision Concept comes with a Wade Aid feature designed to measure a puddle, creek, or water hole before the driver tries to cross it. Lasers measure the depth of water ahead, though Land Rover didn't say how well it works for anything other than crystal-clear water.
Smart glass in the skylight and windows works like a monitor, offering a heads-up display of driving, navigation, and parking aids for driver and passengers or tracking eye movements to display tourist information to fill passengers in on what they see.
Just in case the driver doesn't quite trust the Wade Aid depth estimate, the car comes with a remote control function. The driver can climb out of the vehicle to guide it across a wilderness obstacle, back it up to hook up a trailer hitch without a spotter, or pull into a super-tight parking spot with no room for open doors.
The remote works through the SUV's WiFi system and is controlled using an encrypted, easy-to-use interface, Land Rover said.