Jaguar’s Augmented Reality Simulates Actual Racing
Things are not going well at all for the Tata brand, but luckily all is sunshine and butterflies with the Indian company’s other subsidiary, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). In fact, JLR is surging forward in its sales and technological advancement.
Sales in 2013 exceeded 425,000 units, an 18.8% year-on-year increase and double the 2009 sales figure, which was the automaker’s first full year after Tata’s buy-over. The company reported sales of 38,831 units in May this year, a 20% increase from the same period last year. A recent report by Forbes predicts that JLR will surpass one million units annual sales by 2020, attributed to investments in capacity-building, production development and rising demand for luxury vehicles, in no small part coming from China.
In April this year, the British marque revealed its exciting Transparent Bonnet technology, a clever application of augmented reality to increase safety and ease of driving on rough terrain by projecting the image of the road under the bonnet, onto the bonnet. Once again, the company is extending its augmented reality technology for another purpose – racing. It recently revealed the ‘virtual windscreen concept’ that it is working on under its Jaguar brand, which will make the driver feel like he has been dropped right into a Gran Turismo game.
The technology will allow the driver to see “ghostly” imagery of hazards, vehicles, cones, speed, etc on the windscreen. Images of the driver’s own and others’ vehicles from previous races can be replayed on the screen for practice and to gauge performance improvement. The experience, we imagine, which is part real, part fantasy, would be quite surreal, exciting and, at the same time, quite useful for racers. It would be very much like practising in a race simulator, except better, for the driver can be behind the wheel of the actual machine itself.
Other than for racing practice, though, we do not know how it would benefit drivers on the road during daily commutes. Dr Wolfgang Epple, the automaker’s Research & Technology Director, said, ‘Showing virtual images that allow the driver to accurately judge speed and distance will enable better decision-making and offer real benefits for everyday driving on the road or the track,’ which still does not explain how it would exactly be featured in Jaguar cars. Will there be a sensor on the vehicle to track the speeds of other vehicles in the vicinity, so that you can catch up or prevent other vehicles from overtaking? Or do you “switch on” the imaginary hazards for a bit of driving fun? Perhaps Jaguar is thinking of bringing back it’s now defunct Formula One racing team, so this technology would really come in handy.