JLR offers a 360° view of the road ahead

JLR 360 virtual urban windscreen
Pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles could be visible all around the car.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced plans to develop technologies that could offer drivers a 360° view out of their vehicle, uninterrupted by the pillars that support the roof.

Dubbed the ‘360 virtual urban windscreen’, the initiative involves embedding a screen in the surface of each pillar inside the car taking a live video feed from cameras covering the angles outside the car usually obscured in the blind spots created by the A, B and C-pillars.

Reportedly, pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles would be visible all around the car – and by combining the transparent pillars with an advanced high quality heads-up display (HUD), the movement of other road users could be highlighted to the driver with an on-screen halo moving across the car’s virtual windscreen.

“When the driver indicates to change direction, when they move their head to look over their shoulder during an overtake manoeuvre, or as the vehicle approaches a junction, the system would automatically make the left or right-hand side pillars transparent,” the company stated

Jaguar Land Rover’s director of research and technology,Dr Wolfgang Epple commented: “[We are] developing this technology to improve visibility and to give the driver with the right information at the right time.

If we can keep the driver’s eyes on the road ahead and present information in a non-distracting way, we can help drivers make better decisions in the most demanding and congested driving environments. Our ultimate aim is to reduce road accidents and enhance the urban driving experience.”

The full potential for the 360 virtual urban windscreen would be delivered by connecting the virtual windscreen to the cloud. By connecting the car to roadside infrastructure and businesses in the urban landscape, the virtual urban windscreen could present information ranging from petrol station prices to the number of parking spaces available, so drivers won’t have to look for this information themselves.

The connected car could also enhance navigation by advising the driver to turn left or right at more visible landmarks, such as pubs or shops, rather than just road signs or street names.

Recognising that often the most intuitive and efficient way to navigate to a specific location is to be able to follow someone who knows the best route, JLR is also developing ‘follow-me ghost car navigation’, which projects an image of a vehicle in front of the driver’s car for them to follow, turn by turn, to their destination.

Dr Epple added: “Driving on city streets can be a stressful experience, but imagine being able to drive across town without having to look at road signs, or be distracted trying to locate a parking space as you drive by.

“We want to present all of this information on a HUD in the driver’s eye-line, so the driver doesn’t have to seek it out for themselves and take their eyes off the road ahead.”