In their continuing pursuits of new technology that changes how humans interact with cars, Jaguar Land Rover has a new concept to preview: augmented reality 3D heads-up displays.
This is part of JLR’s planning for a future filled with autonomous vehicles. Two-dimensional heads-up displays are already an option on many JLR vehicles, with a small projector on the dash that puts vital information in the corner of the windshield. The idea behind 3D heads-up displays is to use the extra dimension to provide more useful, time-sensitive information, such as when driving in inclement weather.
The concept is that the vehicle’s various sensors will be able to create a fuller image of an upcoming danger. The 3D heads-up display can project an image on the dash of what is ahead, buried in fog or other obstructions. Projecting the image directly to the driver allowing them to react sooner to the danger as they have seen the model before they can see the real dangerous situation.
That targeted vision technology – positioning the 3D image in such a way that only one person in the vehicle can see it – leads to the other opportunity for these displays: entertainment.
Since these displays would work with small cameras tracking the vision of the occupants of the vehicle to provide the glasses-free 3D images in the right perspectives, different people can see different things without 3D glasses or screen. You could have a front seat passenger watching a 3D movie while the driver is navigating a difficult, foggy, twisty road – and the driver would not be able to see that movie at all.
Research in Germany also suggests a possibility for a third use: preparing a human driver to retake control of an autonomous vehicle in a situation where the autonomous technology is overwhelmed by the situation. By presenting a model of the situation to the human, the quality of the takeover moves proved to be far better than without 3D augmentation. Even though the human did not take over faster, they had a tiny bit of extra time to comprehend what was going on and formulate a plan.
Whether any of this tech is going to ever end up in a Land Rover is yet to be seen, but this project, done in partnership with the University of Cambridge, is a good way for Land Rover to play in the sandbox of new technology while also training a new class of automotive engineers. Who knows, maybe one day you can sit in the passenger’s seat of a new Range Rover watching a movie in 3D while the driver lollygags semi-autonomously down a complex off-road trail.
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