Jaguar Land Rover is developing a new technology that takes the idea of a heads-up display to a whole new level. Called Virtual Windscreen, this feature can use the entire surface of the windshield as a display, with various images projected onto the screen that enhance performance driving and essentially eliminate the need for a traditional gauge cluster.
Although the company says this is part of a suite of technologies that reduce driver distraction on the road, the company is currently showing off functions of the Virtual Windscreen that are clearly meant for high-performance driving on the track. The first displays virtual racing lines onto the windshield, marking the apexes of corners and other optimal racing lines that change color to indicate when the driver should apply the brakes. The screen can also display a “ghost car” of a previous lap so that you can compete with yourself to improve lap times. The system can even display virtual cones on the track to create a course for driver training. In other words, think of it as Gran Turismo, but displayed on your car’s windshield while you’re driving on a real-world track.
All of these images are projected in 3-D onto the windshield, but don’t require the driver to wear any kind of special glasses to see the 3-D effect. Cameras track the driver's eyes and adjust the images based on where he or she is looking. The idea is that the virtual windscreen would replace anything displayed in a traditional instrument cluster, like speed, rpms, fuel level, and more, while having the capability to display many other functions like lap timers, racing lines, and also more commonly used features like navigation or road hazard warning systems.
This all helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road, and Jaguar Land Rover is hoping to further this distraction-free driving experience by developing gesture controls that go along with the virtual windscreen. Although this system is still in the works, it would allow the driver to access certain functions by finger proximity in certain sensing fields, eliminating the need for physical buttons or even touch-capacity controls.
The company has not given any estimates for when we might see this technology in production, but check out the video below in the meantime to see the Virtual Windscreen in action.