- First official sight of Discovery Vision concept
- Heaps of technology
- LED and laser lighting
- Undercar cameras/Transparent Hood
- Gesture control door operation
- Rearview cameras
- Smart Glass displays images
- Laser terrain scanning
- Laser warning signs
- Three rows of seats
- Central table
- Gesture control indicators and headlamps
- Remote control driving
- Integrated luggage
So here it is - the Discovery Vision. It's a "concept car" designed to indicate the direction of the new Land Rover Discovery but, let's be honest, the production vehicle with differ very little from this version. You can expect some detail differences but what you're looking at is essentially the new 2015/2016 Discovery.
The design obviously owes a lot to the existing LR4/Discovery model but has also moved closer to the Range Rover, Sport and Evoque family.
Of course, it still holds onto its LR4 roots, with its characteristic stepped roof, alpine windows, command driving position and stadium seating. However, the roofline is flatter than previous generations in an effort to move the design forward.
Having established its DNA and created a chunky design that speaks to its hardcore off-road ability, the Vision concept is the platform for some remarkable technology.
We already looked at the new Transparent Hood technology that can be found . It uses cameras and a full width heads-up display to show the driver what is ahead of and under the car, helping to maneuver across difficult or steep terrain. It has the effect of making the hood appear transparent by projecting images from under the car onto the hood. It also shows the angle of the front wheels to assist with steering.
As cool as that sounds, it's only one of a suite of incredible new technologies introduced on the Vision Concept, which we'll look at here:
You might have noticed the concept lacks any door handles. This is because Land Rover has incorporated Gesture Recognition, allowing clean exterior surfaces. This is also used on the powered tailgate that has what's described as a "social seat" or "event platform" that deploys from under the trunk floor. It's a different solution to the Range Rover's split tailgate but seems to achieve the same type of versatile platform for tailgating.
The Gesture Recognition uses calibrated motion sensors that recognize designated hand or finger movements to eliminate the chance of unintentional operation. However, it doesn't explain how you'd gain access to the vehicle in the event of a power failure or system fault.
Once inside, the lights and turn signals, rotary gearshift, cabin lighting and rear seat entertainment options are all controlled by gestures.
The wrap-around headlamps feature new laser technology that produce a very bright light that reaches further than conventional sources. Several manufacturers are working with lasers and we should see this in a production car within the next year or two.
Although not fully realized in this concept, laser lights are about 10% the size of LEDs, allowing them to be packaged into a very compact space.
The lasers activate phosphor projection to emit a very bright and even beam of pure white light. This beam adds almost 1000ft to the range of the headlights, while the quality of the light is closer to daylight than any other artificial light.
When used in conjunction with Jaguar Land Rover's intelligent headlight dipping and tracking technology, which uses HD cameras to detect and assess oncoming traffic, dipping the relevant parts of the beam to avoid glare for other road users, it means better vision, reduced fatigue, reducing glare, and no need to operate the dip function. The foglights use laser technology and infra-red to allow you to see but to also enable the Laser Terrain Scanning and Laser Referencing functions...
Laser Terrain Scanning
With the foglamps emitting infrared lasers, they can scan the ground ahead, map the terrain and display the imagery on the driver's screen, providing a visual reference that will help when driving in challenging off-road conditions, particularly at night.
The laser light sources can be tuned to specific colors and used to project visible images onto the road surface. Applications would include warning triangles onto the pavement in the event of a stoppage, or projecting reference points onto roads, walls, or terrain to help the driver judge tight gaps. I'm sure we could think of lots of other potential uses for this sort of technology; it's certainly opening an interesting door...
This new glass works like a computer screen, yet it's totally transparent like glass. Used throughout the cabin, including the panoramic roof, Smart glass and the vehicle's heads-up display technology in the windshield mean real-time information can be overlaid onto the windows.
Using eye-tracking sensors and the vehicle's navigation, it's suggested that a passing landmark once observed by a passengers can have its relevant information and tourist data displayed to that person. The information can then be swiped to the seatback infotainment screen, or even to a docked smartphone.
Smart glass would also allow image projection to assist with parking or reversing around corners by projecting camera feeds into the driver's view through the smart glass window, offering extra information. Privacy controls can also be incorporated, dimming or blacking out the glass with the swipe of a finger, while the panoramic roof has the option of displaying mood screens such as a starry night sky.
Remote Control Driving
Using a smartphone or the removable remote control unit in the center console, it would be possible for the driver to exit the car and maneuver it at very low speed. The idea is to make it easier for the driver to assess the safest route through an off-road obstacle from an outside vantage point. It would also make it very easy to hitch a trailer, and navigate through a property gate without needing to exit and enter each time the car is moved.
As a safety feature, the interface would have encrypted access and operate only through the vehicle's onboard WiFi hotspot, to avoid the danger of the system being hacked.
With three rows of seats, the seating arrangements are very flexible, allowing for a number of layouts. The seats can move forward or backwards and fold flat to form tables. All the options can be selected from the menu on the console touchscreen, with the following options:
- 7-seat mode: standard seating for seven adults in three rows
- 6-seat mode: second-row middle-seat in table-fold
- 5-seat mode: second-row outboard seats in table-fold, or both third-row seats in theater-fold (extra load space)
- 4-seat mode: second-row outboard seats in theatre-fold, and second-row middle-seat in table-fold. Two passengers seated in the third row seats enjoy huge legroom
The back of each seat contains a gesture-controlled infotainment screen and has features such as integrated pop-out coat hangers, fold-out tray table and device docking ports.
Detachable luggage is integrated into the doors, This allows the passengers to pack without needing to use all the luggage area. The hard cases clip into the doors and, once detached, can be used as a roller bags with wheels and extendable handles.
The "social seat" at the rear is deployed from under the rear floor. When initially extended, it forms a platform, but when folded out further, it becomes a bench seat. Used in conjunction with the tailgate, which serve as a canopy, the tailgate can serve as a viewing platform to stand on. Alternatively, it can be used for picnics, watching events, etc.
We'll have more details and full photos of the car from the car's debut at the New York Auto Show this week.