Land Rover threw a cocktail party on-board the USS Intrepid Aircraft carrier in New York City last night. Gerry McGovern, Design Director and Chief Creative Officer of Land Rover, used the event to reveal its latest concept, the Land Rover Discovery Vision.
The Vision label likely refers to its most extravagant feature. Cameras fitted in the vehicle, project the landscape directly ahead of and under the SUV onto the windshield, effectively make the engine and its cover invisible when needed. Although this may seem superfluous to anyone that’s never driven on off-road trails, it isn’t. When you crest a hill and have to blindly transition to a downward slope, this feature is worth its weight in gold. Also added is a terrain guidance system. Using Infrared laser guidance, the system will map the terrain ahead and if needed, will provide instructions to navigate you through hazardous terrain. Going even further, the front mounted lasers will also measure the depth of approaching water to see if it is in fact passable. Despite all these aids help make driving easier, LR has joined the autonomous driving fad and unveiled their Remote Control Drive. According to Land Rover their system “has various useful applications both on- and off-road, from coupling a trailer, to external spotting during extreme off-roading”. However, with the advanced camera and laser features offered, the system may seem redundant.
The other and perhaps more relevant news about the Land Rover Discovery Vision, is that the Discovery, known as the LR4 in North America, will expand into a family of vehicles. The strategy follows the game plan of the larger top of the line Range Rover classic line. No concrete details were offered and engine choices were not specified.
The Discovery Vision concept sheds the LR4’s boxy styling for the rounded sleek lines of the premium Range Rover line.
Designers and engineers have added next generation human-machine interactive functions such as vehicle controls and handles that are controlled by hand gestures.
The passenger cabin has be re-envisioned by Land Rover designers. In addition to the interactive systems mentioned earlier, Land Rover has gone further to provide added flexibility to the passenger seating. The new Discovery Vision can be reconfigured from its full capacity as a seven-seater, through various options eventually down to a 4-seater limousine through an on-board touchscreen panel.
Interior finishes also reflect new technology blended with traditional fittings. Washable and water/oil-repellent Foglizzo premium leather with the addition of Harris Tweed accents and real wood flooring sections.
The other news of the night was the announcement of an alliance with Virgin Galactic to have Land Rover be the Automotive partner of the upcoming space tourism venture. Well heeled customers paying for their trip to spacial orbit will be shuttled around Spaceport America and eventually out to the orbiter in Land Rover vehicles. A scale model of the spacecraft was one display next to the Land Rover Discovery Vision being unveiled.
Here is Land Rover’s full press release on the debut.