Jaguar Shows Off See-Through Pillars and “Ghost Car” Navigation Future Tech

By Bradley Iger

December 16, 2014

Historically, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been the model which foretells the future of the common automobile – after all, features like ABS, stability control, and adaptive cruise control all made their production car debuts in an S-Class, and typically it usually takes a few years of progress for those innovations to become commonplace across the industry. Jaguar Land Rover might be looking to shake things up in that regard though, as the automaker has just announced the development of a pair of new technologies which have every indication of being as revolutionary as anything we’ve seen from Daimler.
 
 
First up we have the 360 Degree Virtual Urban Windscreen System. Demonstrated in an XJ sedan, the system uses a combination of cameras and display screens mounted on the A, B, and C pillars in the car to create the effect of a see-through surface, displaying what’s directly behind the pillar on the screen affixed to it. According to the video, the system seems to work fairly autonomously – if, for instance, the driver looks over their shoulder to change lanes, the system will automatically engage, making the B-pillar blind spot appear to vanish while the driver verifies whether there is another vehicle occupying that space.
 
“"Our ultimate aim is to reduce road accidents and enhance the urban driving experience. The Jaguar Land Rover research team is developing this technology to improve visibility and to give the driver with the right information at the right time,” said Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology for Jaguar Land Rover. “If we can keep the driver's eyes on the road ahead and present information in a non-distracting way, we can help drivers make better decisions in the most demanding and congested driving environments.”
 
 
Further enhancing this notion is the second feature currently under development, dubbed the Follow-Me Ghost Car Navigation system. The tech takes heads-up display navigation to another level by projecting a video game-style “ghost car” on the windshield which acts as the vehicle to follow on your route, greatly reducing the need to take your eyes off the road to look at a navigation screen to anticipate the next maneuver along your route.
 
The Follow-Me Ghost Car Navigation system works similarly to the Virtual Windscreen Concept that Jaguar revealed earlier this year. That technology, shown in an F-Type coupe, would provide not only real-time telemetry data but also display suggested racing lines and brake zones as well:
 

 
While the 360 Degree Virtual Urban Windscreen and Follow-Me Ghost Car Navigation systems aren’t quite ready for primetime just yet, the technology also doesn’t exist in some “where we’d like to be in twenty years” pipe dream either – both systems are grounded enough in reality that it’s certainly possible we could see these systems in production cars by the close of the decade.
 
Check out the video below to see the new features in motion, and be sure to have a look at JLR’s press release for additional details.
 

 
JAGUAR LAND ROVER DEVELOPS TRANSPARENT PILLAR AND 'FOLLOW-ME' GHOST CAR NAVIGATION RESEARCH
 
- Jaguar Land Rover reveals its '360 Virtual Urban Windscreen' research, which uses transparent roof pillars to give the driver a 360o view outside the car
- To aid navigation on busy urban roads, a ghost car could be projected in front of the car for the driver to follow
- The concept uses future Heads-Up Display technology to provide information to keep the driver's eyes on the road and reduce distraction
- '360 Virtual Urban Windscreen' and 'Follow-Me Ghost Car Navigation' are part of a suite of new concept technologies that Jaguar Land Rover is developing to reduce the potential for accidents
 
Whitley, UK: Jaguar Land Rover has launched a research project to develop technologies that will offer drivers a 360o view out of their vehicle, uninterrupted by the pillars that support the roof.
 
A screen would be embedded in the surface of each pillar inside the car and would take a live video feed from cameras covering the angles outside the car usually obscured in the blind spots created by the A, B and C-pillars.
 
Pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles would be visible all around the car – and by combining the transparent pillars with an advanced high quality Heads-Up display, the movement of other road users could be highlighted to the driver with an on-screen halo moving across the car's virtual windscreen.
 
When the driver indicates to change direction, when they move their head to look over their shoulder during an overtake manoeuvre, or as the vehicle approaches a junction, the system would automatically make the left or right-hand side pillars transparent.
 
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: "Our ultimate aim is to reduce road accidents and enhance the urban driving experience. The Jaguar Land Rover research team is developing this technology to improve visibility and to give the driver with the right information at the right time. If we can keep the driver's eyes on the road ahead and present information in a non-distracting way, we can help drivers make better decisions in the most demanding and congested driving environments."
 
The full potential for the 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen would be delivered by connecting the virtual windscreen to the Cloud. By connecting the car to roadside infrastructure and businesses in the urban landscape, the Virtual Urban Windscreen could present information ranging from petrol station prices to the number of parking spaces available, so drivers won't have to look for this information themselves.
 
The connected car could also enhance navigation by advising the driver to turn left or right at more visible landmarks, such as pubs or shops, rather than just road signs or street names.
 
While the most intuitive and efficient way to navigate to a specific location is to be able to follow someone who knows the best route - so the Jaguar Land Rover team is developing 'Follow-MeGhost Car Navigation',which projects an image of a vehicle in front of the driver's car for them to follow, turn by turn, to their destination.
 
"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," added Dr Epple. "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."