Land Rover via Youtube
The transparent hood could benefit explorers and urbanites alike.
Auto shows are great for getting a glimpse into the future of the car market but, unfortunately, the coolest, most imaginative, most innovative concepts and designs often remain on the drawing board. Indeed, the automotive industry is a tough business and there’s only a small segment of the market willing or able to splurge on limited-production ultra-luxury cars. So, here are six futuristic concept cars we wish we could buy right now.
The ultimate litmus test for whether or not you’re living in the future is whether or not there are flying cars zipping through the skies. Well, here’s some good news: We’re getting really close. The TF-X from Terrafugia (pictured) will be a street legal plug-in hybrid car that has collapsible wings, retractable propellers, and is capable of driving and flying on its own in the event of an emergency.
Let’s face it: Electric cars are the future. There will, inevitably, be a time in which fossil fuels are too expensive and precious to waste on grocery store runs. In the meantime, however, super-efficient gas-powered vehicles will be a trend. And this is one trend that can’t catch on soon enough.
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Sure, steampunk has become a popular aesthetic amongst sci-fi aficionados, but could steam-powered cars really play a role in the future of transportation? It’s a long shot, but in a future where efficiency and fuel conservation are primary concerns, odd alternatives like steam could play a role.
Smartphone on Wheels
Increasingly, car companies are working to close the gap between the technology on the road and the technology in our pockets—but they still have a long way to go. Concepts like the Toyota Fun-Vii, however, show a glimmer of that interactive, intelligent, driving future.
Everyone loves the growl of a powerful super car, but we all have to admit that one design does not suit every application. Life in a city, or habitual short-trip driving demands a very different vehicle than, certainly, the race track. This growing use case presents different requirements, though, than even the majority of sedans. Microcars are a smart solution to these real-world problems.
If you’ve been feeling like us, like you’ve been shortchanged by the promises of your childhood and the under-delivery of the modern era -- at least when it comes to cars -- look no further than this innovation from Land Rover. It’s not The Jetsons, but it’s something those bleebling little space car drivers never even thought of. It’s the Transparent Bonnet.
Here in the U.S., we’d call it (and Land Rover USA does, too) a Transparent Hood. But that unassuming name doesn’t quite convey the simple brilliance and complex technology behind it. MUST WATCH: SRT Viper Races F-16 Viper Fighter Jet: Video
Using a web of camera images and projectors, the Transparent Hood system projects the area just in front of and underneath the nose of the Land Rover concept car onto a head-up display along the lower portion of the windshield. The effect is breathtaking, offering the ability to see obstacles and terrain that would otherwise be hidden, and to allow precise placement of the vehicle’s front wheels -- both key improvements to the off-roading experience.
Part of a suite of new technologies to be showcased on the Land Rover Discovery Vision concept car at the 2014 New York Auto Show, the Transparent Hood is a demonstration of what’s possible today using the thinking of tomorrow.
In addition to the unprecedented view of the terrain under the nose, the system also relays a head-up display of key vehicle data, including speed, incline, roll angle, steering position, and drive mode. DON'T MISS: Teen Drives Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Into Texas Pool: Video
The solution isn’t solely intended for the expedition off-roader, either. It’s thought to be useful in an urban environment, too. “As our vehicles become more capable and offer increasing autonomy off-road, we will ensure the driver has the confidence to progress over any terrain,” says Dr. Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology for Jaguar Land Rover. “We are developing new technologies including the Transparent Hood to give drivers an augmented view of reality to help them tackle anything from the toughest off-road route to the tight confines of urban parking.”
Look for more details on the technology inside the Discovery Vision concept, including live photos and more, from the 2014 New York Auto Show next week.
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