Transparent pillars and ghost cars

Following on from the see-through bonnet, Jaguar Land Rover is now working on see-through pillars to give drivers a full 360º view of the road.

Just as the see-through bonnet uses video cameras to allow the driver a view of the road immediately in front, apparently through a transparent bonnet, so the Invisible pillar technology uses video camera to show what is behind the A, B and C pillars.

Transparent Pillars and ghost car

While the invisible bonnet was particularly aimed at off-road use, where the driver's view of potential obstacles is obscured by the bonnet, particularly when the car is cresting a rise, the invisible pillars would improve safety in every-day driving.

The way it works is that a screen embedded in the pillar would take a live feed from cameras covering the angles outside the car that are normally obscured by the pillars – allowing the driver to see pedestrians, bicycles or other vehicles that can be hidden by the pillars. When the driver indicates to change direction or turns their head, the system would automatically switch on the video on the appropriate side of the car.

In an extension of the technology, when used with an advanced heads-up display the movement of other road users could be highlighted to the drive with an on-screen “halo” surrounding the moving object.

By connecting the windscreen system to the Cloud, the windscreen could present information ranging from petrol station prices, to the number of parking spaces available, as well as enhanced navigation information.

Here, the Jaguar researchers are looking at the benefits of a “ghost car”. Recognising that the most intuitive way to find the way to somewhere is by following another vehicle, the Jaguar Land Rover team are working on navigation that will project a virtual car in front of the driver, who simply follows that vehicle to the destination.
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