Many premium automotive manufactures have been implementing the latest technology into their vehicles for several years now. The Tesla Model S, for instance, uses a 17” touchscreen as its main centre display while the Audi A8 hosts its own password-protected, Wi-Fi network that uses a high-speed LTE connection. If the future technologies we’ve seen demoed by Land Rover come to fruition, though, they’ll make these kinds of features seem like fax machines and cassette tapes.
Virtual reality is here and while we said that in the 1990s we mean it this time. Facebook recently acquired start-up company Oculus VR, makes of the Oculus Rift device, for two billion dollars and electronics companies like Samsung, Sony, and HTC are all getting involved too. Land Rover recently showed a demo of their own version of this technology that aims to help drivers spot potential road hazards like crossing pedestrians or cyclists better. When the driver moves their head, the pillars that typically obstruct their view become transparent, showing a live feed of their surrounds pulled from exterior cameras and increasing their overall awareness.
Okay, while complete camouflage into out surroundings is still science-fiction, we are seeing incredible examples of technology inspired by this concept. Perhaps the most notable of this is the invisible bonnet that Land Rover first showed us last year. Using virtual imaging technology, cameras placed in the grille of the vehicle display images of the ground below on a display based on the front of the car. This is primarily meant for off-road vehicles like the company’s Freelander range, available from suppliers like Ridgeway, as it will allow drivers to see any obstacles underneath and in front of the car as well as give them a better indication of their wheel position, which is crucial for handling steep inclines on rough terrain.
Personal assistants like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana have become commonplace on our smartphones. Originally, these services were primarily controlled through voice commands, such as asking them to create a reminder for later. However, through new self-learning algorithms these devices can now learn our habits and contextually adjust themselves to our needs before we give them a command, and this is where Land Rover is heading too with its own on-board Smart Assistant. With the use of eye-tracking software, the system could detect if you were more tired than usual and adjust the brightness or contrast of the information on display accordingly.
While many of the features shown were future concepts, the speed of which the modern computer industry is moving means that technologies we once associated with science-fiction will soon become a part of our daily lives.