Jaguar Land Rover wants to make your car pillars disappear

Beautiful as your car's frame might be, some consider them as visual obstructions that keep drivers from getting the full view of their surroundings to help them make safer choices. What if you could make that frame disappear without actually making them disappear? That contradiction is exactly what Jaguar Land Rover is trying to develop with its 360-degree Urban Widescreen, which turns a car's pillars seemingly transparent, without actually changing the material and form of the pillars themselves.

This optical illusion is accomplished by embedding a screen inside those pillars and then displaying the live video feed captured by cameras outside the car. This technique isn't exactly new to our ears. Researchers in Japan have even made strides in making the whole car seemingly transparent. Jaguar Land Rover's implementation is less drastic and focuses only on the pillars. One interesting feature planned is a bit of motion detection. When the car's system determines that the driver is looking over his or her shoulder, it will turn the corresponding B pillar "transparent".

The purpose of this technology is to give the driver an unobstructed view of the area nearby, letting him see through blind spots and helping him make spit second, life saving decisions. The driver will be alert to fast moving cars and pedestrians that seemingly pop out of nowhere.

Another part of the hi-tech driver assistance that Jaguar Land Rover is developing is an advanced high-quality HUD that displays icons and "ghost" cars on the windscreen. This was already considered for race training cars, but can even be used for normal, day to day driving. For example, a virtual representation of a car can be displayed for the driver to follow when navigating through busy roads. The car maker envisions making even more information available to the driver when the car is connected to the cloud, feeding it with details such as road infrastructure, petrol prices, and available parking slots.

Eventually, the goal is to keep the driver's eyes on the road or, at the very least, keep information at eye level so that he or she would not need to look down. Of course, given the novelty of the technology and the unorthodoxy of the presentation, these new features might present even more distraction to drivers at first, so it might take some time before they become common place. That is, presuming they actually end up in production at all.

SOURCE: Jaguar Land Rover