Land Rover ‘See Through Bonnet’
The invention of the invisible car, like the Aston Martin ‘Vanish’ driven by Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day, is still undoubtedly a long way off. But this hasn’t stopped Land Rover making a small, tentative step into the future with their newly unveiled transparent bonnet.
Of course, the bonnet itself is not actually transparent. The technology instead refers to a head-up display which shows the driver what’s going on in front of and beneath the engine, i.e. the area usually obscured by the bonnet. This creates the impression that the bonnet has ceased to exist, and all that can be seen are the wheels and the ground ahead.
So there’s an obvious novelty factor to the transparent bonnet, although the new technology should also prove incredibly useful for those driving off road. Imagine, for instance, nearing the crest of a muddy hill: usually, you have little idea of what’s happening with the front wheels; whether they’re on firm ground or about to launch into the air. With the transparent bonnet, however, the driver knows precisely what’s going on and can accurately place the wheels accordingly.
And it’s not just off road drivers who’ll benefit – the technology will also greatly assist anybody trying to turn in a confined space, or those trying to parallel park. The ability to see exactly how much space remains between you and the car in front should minimise the chances of clipping anybody. So there’ll be no need to buy a Smart Car now that the transparent bonnet is around.
The technology works by positioning small cameras in the vehicle’s grille, which will record what’s going on in this blind spot. The information will then be sent to a head-up display which will extend across the entire windscreen, contrasting greatly with the tiny displays used by most manufacturers. So the driver’s view will literally be that of an invisible bonnet.
The technology is due to be showcased in Land Rover’s Discovery Vision concept car at the NEW York Motor Show, starting April 16.