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Sometimes You Have to Look Back to Move Forward

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On: Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 10:23AM | By: Karen Cook

Sometimes You Have to Look Back to Move Forward

Take a trip back with me about 25 years or so. It was a time before navigation systems and smartphones. It was a time when we had to depend on ourselves to get where we wanted to go, even if we had never been there. If you aren’t old enough to remember, then you’ll just have to take our word for it.

Back then we used paper road maps and pulled over a lot to look at them, or not. Some people tried to read them as they drove. (Just as bad as texting, trust me.) Or, if you were lucky, someone gave you directions. It was hit or miss whether or not you could follow them. If you were really lucky someone would actually lead you to your destination. All you had to do was follow them. This was perfect, as long as you didn’t lose the car you were following.

Then came MapQuest and other online services, which gave turn-by-turn directions. It was better but still not ideal. You had to read them as you drove, which leads us back to distracted driving.

But smartphones hit the scene and now, in the palms of our hands, we had someone telling us where to turn and how much farther we had to go. Again, better but not perfect. Try getting her to repeat anything without taking your eyes off the road.

Jaguar Land Rover may have the solution. Its “Follow-MeGhost” Car Navigation system may be the answer to distracted driving when traveling to unknown places. It projects a “ghost” car on the windshield which guides a driver turn-by-turn and alleviates the need to read road signs. The guide vehicle is transparent and reduces distraction by allowing the driver to focus on the projection without looking away from the road.

Also included in this technology is “360 Virtual Urban Windscreen” which gives the driver a 360° view around the car by means of a series of external cameras. It also highlights pedestrians, animals, and cyclists with a moving “halo” similar to what you might see in a video game.

The system is linked to the cloud as well, to give traffic reports and parking availability in real time.

According to Dr. Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology at Jaguar Land Rover, “We want to present all of this information on a heads-up display in the driver’s eye-line, so the driver doesn’t have to seek it out for themselves and take their eyes off the road.”

If Dr. Epple could just figure out how to get drivers to stop texting he would make millions.

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