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Jaguar Land Rover is researching technologies that will offer drivers a 360 degrees view out of their vehicle, uninterrupted by the pillars that support the roof.

They plan to do this by embedding screens in the surface of each pillar inside the car which would carry live video feeds from cameras covering the angles outside the car usually obscured in the blind spots created by the A, B and C-pillars.


The 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen would increase the overall safety features of the car by making pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles all around the car visible. The system would automatically make the left or right-hand side pillars transparent 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.

According to Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover:
“Our ultimate aim is to reduce the potential for accidents and enhance the urban driving experience. The Jaguar Land Rover research team is 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.”

The virtual windscreen would be connected to the Cloud and 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.

Another interesting technology under development is their ‘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.

According to a recent Auto Study on the future of mobility conducted by New York based company MRY, via Whitman Insight Strategies, owning a car is still an important part of our day-to-day life.

This study surveyed 1,000 smartphone owners – 500 Millennials, 500 35+) and cover everything from consumers’ thoughts on the “connected car,” to which automakers are perceived to be the most innovative (and how that translates to sales).

The findings reveals that unsurprisingly that mobile phones matter a lot more to people, slightly less than cars. Among adults 35+: 94% say their cars are important vs 82% phones. But for Millennials, it’s 87% cars, 86% phones. Overall, SMS comes in at 72%, high def TV 55%, Facebook 47%, newspaper subscription 32%, and Twitter and Instagram around 20%.

Across ages, access to a car (90%) trumps helping others (77%), raising a family (73%), voting (68%), and being wealthy (43%). However, the youth just want to get rich as being wealthy is a FAR bigger deal for Millennials (53%) vs adults 35+ (33%) - one of the biggest value gaps MRY found in the study.

As for car ownership, 96% of surveyed individuals own or lease a vehicle, and 91% think that owning a car is still an important part of their day-to-day. Even 87% of the Millennial population, which is more aware of car-sharing services and other transportation options, agrees that owning a car is essential. This means that auto manufacturers need to keep people happy, because at least 40% of surveyed individuals are likely to use car-sharing services if offered in their communities.

To put things into perspective: new vehicle sales are around the 16 million mark, with the average sticker price north of $30,000 (See link). That’s $480 billion. A shift in attitude leads to changes in purchase behavior and even a 1% change could mean a $5 billion impact on sales.

However, car-sharing still has a long way to go. Even though Uber ranks above all of the major auto brands when measured against the intersection of innovation and personal connection, it is still a relatively unknown entity. Only 22% of surveyed individuals were familiar with Uber, falling behind Zip Car (33% familiar) and just ahead of Lyft (18% familiar).

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