Land Rover reveals "invisible" bonnet for Discovery Vision concept

Land Rover reveals "invisible"...
The Transparent Bonnet in action
The Transparent Bonnet in action
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A description of how the Transparent Bonnet works
A description of how the Transparent Bonnet works
The Transparent Bonnet in action
The Transparent Bonnet in action

Land Rover teased its new Discovery Vision concept last week in the run-up to its début at 2014 New York International Auto Show on April 16, and now the car maker reveals a bit more about the Vision – or rather, less. That’s because the latest tease demonstrates a new technology that uses cameras and heads-up displays to make the front of the car “invisible” to the driver.

Land Rovers have a lot of pluses, but visibility around that landing deck of a bonnet is not one of them. Anyone who's ever tried to park one in a tight spot or negotiated a rutted path with only an inch of clearance knows how much guesswork is involved. To remedy this, the Vision concept steals a page from the latest fighter plane technology for its “Transparent Bonnet” virtual imaging system, that makes it appear as if the bonnet is made of glass.

A description of how the Transparent Bonnet works
A description of how the Transparent Bonnet works

Designed to act as an aid for off-roading and maneuvering in close quarters, it uses cameras mounted on the front grille of the Vision to capture real-time images of the area hidden by the bonnet, and projects them onto a full-width heads-up display on the bottom of the windscreen. This produces the illusion that the front of the car has become transparent, allowing the driver to see what obstacles are in the way.

In addition, the display shows a pair of virtual front wheels, so the driver knows where they are and what angle they’re pointed at, as well as readouts of the front and lateral tilt of the car, front wheel angle, and speed in both imaging and non-imaging modes.

The video below shows the prototype “Transparent Bonnet” system in action.

Source: Land Rover

What a fantastic idea. It's a pity they don't project an image of the actual wheels, rather than virtual wheels. This would be great for picking your way over rocks or driving on a narrow track. Also being able to see the ground clearance under the lowest point would be good.
Mel Tisdale
When I started in the Rover company many moons ago, the design philosophy for Land Rovers was that they should be as repairable as possible, even if they broke down in the middle of nowhere. For that reason they resisted the use of coil springs, despite their superior ride, because leaf springs could most likely be repaired in any local forge even when far from modern civilisation. When I look under the bonnet of a modern Land Rover, I just scratch my head and hope that it keeps working. Mind you, the ride's a lot nicer.
Gone are the days when if your car broke down, you checked that it had fuel, was not getting too much fuel and had a spark. It was usually one of those three that was the problem. If the new Discovery were meant for country-wide off road use, such as is the case with much of Africa, then 'Harry Potter' stuff like this would not be in the spec. because it isn't essential and is only repairable by specialists. As for having cameras that show the actual wheels, that would only be of use in dry conditions and even then, the dust build-up would spoil it after a very short while.
Why is it that they state it will help in rough terrain and then show a short clip on a smooth gravel road. Truth be know, just another useless gimmick.
Mel Tisdale hit the nail on the head when he mentioned mud and dust build up. drive through a mountain track and even if it has not rained, you still have creek crossings followed with dust that will stick to wet lenses and just imagine what color your under carriage is like when it is muddy (either thick black pug or red clay, camera's will be useless and you will be trying to wipe the HUD.
Also agree with Mel, gone are the days that cars were reparable in the field, and that it was truly a case of check the spark, check the fuel and weld the leaf spring with the battery, weld rod and jump start leads.
Mind you, it will be great for the mechanic's, if they drop a bolt or screw while fixing all the other gimmicks on your Toorak (rich Melbourne suburb) tractor. Tough work crossing those tram tracks.
Gregg Eshelman
The cameras will need squirters and wipers, like Mercedes headlights.