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Land Rover Demos "Transparent Hood" 172

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the oh-look-a-possum dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes "When we were kids, we were promised flying cars in the future, like The Jetsons. Well, now it's the future, and we don't have any flying cars. But Land Rover just unveiled some crazy new technology called the Transparent Hood system. It's brilliant in its simplicity, and yet quite complex in its implementation. Using a web of camera images and projectors, the Transparent Hood system projects the area just in front of and underneath the nose of the vehicle onto a head-up display along the lower portion of the windshield. Not only is this obviously breathtaking, but when it comes to off-roading—or parking in tight urban spaces—this could change the game. It will allow drivers to see precisely what's below them and immediately in front of them allowing precise placement of the vehicle's front wheels. The system also displays key vehicle data including speed, incline, roll angle, steering position, and drive mode. People, this is the future, and the future is now."
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Land Rover Demos "Transparent Hood"

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  • So... (Score:2, Funny)

    by taiwanjohn (103839)

    Now I can see the potholes as they rattle my bones in real time. Kewl! ;-)

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cusco (717999) <brian DOT bixby AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @12:11PM (#46705449)

      The only reason why this design is even seen as useful is because of the very poor ergonomic design of autobodies that has become popular the last few years. I have a 2002 Tacoma, I can see all four corners of the vehicle. With a glance I can tell within six inches of exactly where each corner of the vehicle is. We used to have a 1995 Corolla, and I could park it in any spot. My wife has a new Audi, and until recently I was driving a fairly new Corolla supplied by my employer. Hate parking those things, you can't see the corners of the vehicle so can only guess as to how far away I am from the next vehicle.

      • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@woCURIErld3.net minus physicist> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @01:26PM (#46706185) Homepage

        Bad for you perhaps, but the reason we have those high curved bonnets now is to protect pedestrians when you hit them. It isn't the initial contact with their legs that gives them fatal injuries, it's the blow as their head slams down against the bonnet. Previously the engine block tended to be right under the thin metal cover so their skull effectively went into that. Now there is more room for the bonnet to flex and cushion the blow.

    • Off-roading? The cameras would be caked with mud and dust within 15 minutes. How is this going to be helpful?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AK Marc (707885)
        The windshields and headlamps are self-cleaning, so why can't these cameras be? Oh, someone on Slashdot thought of one possible (but easily solved) problem, therefore the entire tech is useless because the summary didn't outline every technical challenge and solution.
      • by modi123 (750470)

        Per the image in the article - the cameras are mounted in the grille.

      • Off-roading? The cameras would be caked with mud and dust within 15 minutes.

        And the windscreen. It's a wonder anyone goes off-roading at all, having to get out and wipe the muck off the windows every quarter of an hour.

      • by LoRdTAW (99712)

        How many Land Rover owners actually off-road? Im guessing a small fraction of a percent. These cars are more of a luxury vehicle than practical offroader. The transparent hood is just a marketing gimmick to get people to buy a Land Rover. The main market for these cars are yuppies and soccer moms with money. They don't have to ford rivers, climb a steep hill or drive down muddy dirt roads after a monsoon to buy groceries, make it to their hair appointment or commute to work.

        • by Cederic (9623)

          hey don't have to ford rivers, climb a steep hill or drive down muddy dirt roads after a monsoon to buy groceries, make it to their hair appointment or commute to work.

          But the cars are capable of that, and that's why they're also popular with farmers and people that live outside of cities.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

      by davester666 (731373) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @01:22PM (#46706149) Journal

      Finally, I can tailgate to within 6 inches of the guy in front of me. I'll get home that much faster!

    • by savuporo (658486)

      Can we just go full VR with this, ala Oculus ? Just put a headset on before you get in the car.
      The opportunities would be endless ! First of all, it could repaint the entire interior to look like whatever sports coupe, vintage classic or whatever your dream car is.
      You could be launching virtual. very satisfactory rockets at the jackass who just blocked your turn, create imaginary, optionally naked supermodels on passenger seats and so on ?

  • and take my money!
  • So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @11:39AM (#46705145)

    The "demo" is just a "virtual prototype in testing", also known as: CGI. What an innovative concept... not. Please get back to me once you really have something to show.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Costs a little more, but the F35 Joint Strike Fighter [youtube.com] actually has this capability:

      "These helmets are designed to utilize cameras on the outside of the aircraft to project the pilot's surroundings onto his mask. This way, if the pilot needs to look at the ground directly below him, he no longer has to roll the aircraft. He can simply look straight down, essentially looking through the floor and his own body!"

      Not just visible light, either, so you can see at night and through clouds...

      It's not on a HUD

      • by Minwee (522556)

        The difference is that the Land Rover has more hours in service than the F35.

        Probably more hours in flight too.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @11:43AM (#46705189)

    Sounds like Amish porn

  • Well this will work (well?) for one point of view, the driver presumably. The passenger will see a distorted view unless they use some sort of system that can show two different images for two (or more) different viewpoints. They could use the "micro louvers" screen filters (patented by 3M I think) or some more sophisticated system that are used on some large screen LCD TVs that provide multiple points of view (or 3D images) without glasses. It's the same problem basically.

    Why stop with just the hood? W

    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @11:48AM (#46705241)
      If a passenger if looking through the driver's Heads Up Display, you're doing it wrong.
      • Depends on who she is and where you are parked.

      • The article (and video) doesn't make clear how large the "heads up display" is but considering that they say it is along the lower portion of the windshield that implies it must be pretty big (to cover the area of the "hood").

        The range rover isn't a military aircraft where the H.U.D. is going to be relatively near the pilot's face and directly in front of the pilot. For the range rover it wouldn't be safe or convenient to hang a piece of glass so near an ordinary automobile driver. The H.U.D.'s purpose in

        • by oodaloop (1229816)
          A digital screen spread across the dashboard is hardly a heads up display. It might be more like Google Glass.
          • The classic meaning of heads up display is that you don't have to look down at your instruments, but keep looking out of the window. Overlaying reality. As this appears to projection onto the lower portion of the windscreen, it would qualify as heads up.

            Google Glass can't do heads up. It's display is up and to one side, and can't overlay reality.

      • by number17 (952777)
        Technically they call it a Smart Windscreen Head-Up Display [motorauthority.com]. That name implies that the windscreen will be the display, not a pair of goggles. In that case, there would be a distortion of images.
  • I'd also love to have proximity sensors giving the distance from any part of my car to any obstacle. It'd make parallel parking a lot quicker if I could get a readout showing how many inches there are between my car and the vehicle behind me.

    Rearview cameras can be useful, but unless you've got one like an RV mounted way up high aiming down at the back of the vehicle they won't help much in parking.

    • Nissan already offers that.

      http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/TECHNOLOGY/OVERVIEW/avm.html

    • I'd also love to have proximity sensors giving the distance from any part of my car to any obstacle. It'd make parallel parking a lot quicker if I could get a readout showing how many inches there are between my car and the vehicle behind me.

      Couple Arduinos, couple ultrasonic rangefinders, couple of LED strips...

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @11:56AM (#46705309)

    The thing I don't get with these camera displays is the fact that they don't seem to have wipers on the camera, with cleaning solution.
    Snow/Salt/Mud/Dirt really collect and make visibility bad. If you are offroading then one puddle and your feature is useless.

    • No one uses a 100,000$ dollar Land Rover for offroading silly! Are you nuts?

      They are used by rich soccer Moms to drop off little Bobby at practice. Those camera may prevent them from running over Jimmy when they have had one too many cocktails and get all sassy and decide to take a short cut over the neighboring pitch...

    • by modi123 (750470)

      Per the image in the article - the cameras are mounted in the grille.

      http://www.motorauthority.com/... [motorauthority.com]

    • The thing I don't get with these camera displays is the fact that they don't seem to have wipers on the camera, with cleaning solution.
      Snow/Salt/Mud/Dirt really collect and make visibility bad. If you are offroading then one puddle and your feature is useless.

      ... uh, we could just install wiperless glass AKA ultrasonic wipers. [gizmag.com]

  • " Not only is this obviously breathtaking, but when it comes to off-roading—or parking in tight urban spaces—this could change the game."

    Not when the people using said vehicles aren't even familiar with the basics on how to handle and maneuver.

    If you need assistance to parallel park in a tight urban space, you either need a smaller vehicle, or you need to call a cab or walk.

    On top of that, you shouldn't have been given a license in the first place.

    • Maybe Land Rover could second-source this see-through-opaque-surfaces sensor system to Lockheed to solve the problems with the virtual reality helmet on the Lightning II aircraft (the F35 JSF)?
  • This is a pretty cool feature. I have seen a similar implementation in a Mercedes and a Toyota, but for backwards driving only. It would turn on the camera as soon as you shifted into reverse.

  • With a light colored hood, the heads up display during the day would be washed out.

    I imagine that cars with this technology would benefit from a matte black hood, making future cars look like modders with carbon fiber hoods. Next, we'll see some technology that requires a huge spoiler :)
  • I understand that backup cameras will be mandatory in cars by 2018. Related, I can see this being very use for larger vehicles where ground clearance impedes visibility. A small object or child can easily disappear below the line of visibility on larger SUV's and trucks and this seems to make it visible without being a distraction (and able to toggle off/on). Safety aside I can see this being very useful for driving in tight spaces and other instances where seeing the ground and wheels would be immensely
  • That's what we need; a Land Rover where the driver can't tell where the front end actually is. I'm sure they won't hit any hydrants/curbs/garage walls.
  • This will take the senior citizen's favorite game "Farmer's Market" to a whole new level of interaction!
  • ... just not hand out drivers licenses to people who can't parallel park.

    Equipment on a Land Rover isn't going to save children. That's a rich person's car. Rich people's kids don't play in the street. Poor people will continue to be run over by clapped-out F150s.

  • We did pretty much the same thing with US Army helicopters almost twenty years ago.

  • While working in the shop in undergrad (all engineering majors were required to take a metalworking shop course so we wouldn't come up with stupid designs which were impossible to manufacture), the professor told us to be especially careful with the lathe. Because it's spinning and parts of it appear semi-transparent, it apparently doesn't register in some people's brains as really being there. I thought that was silly, then discovered that I was one of those people and nearly stuck my hand into the spinn
  • I think this would require eye tracking. The image projected on the windshield would change depending on the height of the driver, and would also change as you move your head up and down. It's a clever idea, but it could be very distracting as the image is continually adjusted for the height of your eyes.
  • Not so much. I get you're a fan but ease up on the hyperbole if you want to be taken seriously.

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