Has your windshield pillar ever blocked an important part of your view while driving? Jaguar feels that it may have, and they are using battlefield technology to make you forget it’s even there. In recent years, crash and rollover protection standards have mandated that your car’s roof be strong enough to fully support the vehicle’s entire weight to protect drivers and passengers. These laws force the windshield frame to be as strong as railroad iron, at the expense of visibility.
A Dec. 15 press release from Jaguar Land Rover states that the manufacturer is taking technology from the battlefield and utilizing it to display an image of the outside along the vertical surfaces of the A, B and C pillars. A superconducting thin film allows a HD image to be generated of what you are missing, and gives the illusion of 360 degrees of visibility.
A Nov. 12 article from The Independent describes how this technology was developed by the University of Texas in order to build an invisibility cloak for the armed forces. It has long been rumored that we have this technology already in use in the skies and on the battlefield, but it apparently works very well. In action, Jaguar employs pinhole cameras around the body along with powerful imaging software to create a seamless representation of the outside world.
If you have driven a car with Heads Up Display, you can thank the military for that as well. The ability to project vital data like speed and temperature on to the windshield first appeared in the 1990s, but they were crude green LCDs that had displays similar to pocket calculators. BMW recently launched a full-color HUD, but it is still limited in size by having to be projected from the dash.
Jaguar has upped the ante with the ghost-car navigation system. It uses the entire windshield as a display, projecting a virtual car that you can follow to reach your destination. These technologies will undoubtedly face the torrent of federal vehicle legislation, but we are “looking forward” to seeing them in the near future.