:: Jaguar Land Rover has launched a research project to develop clever new tech that will offer drivers a 360-degree view out of their vehicle, uninterrupted by windscreen pillars.
According to the firm, a screen would be embedded in the surface of each pillar inside the car and would take a live video feed from cameras covering the angles outside the car usually obscured in the blind spots.
Pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles would be visible all around the car. And by combining the transparent pillars with a heads-up display, the movement of other road users could be highlighted to the driver with an on-screen ‘halo’ moving across the car’s virtual windscreen.
When the driver indicates to change direction, when they move their head to look over their shoulder during an overtake manoeuvre, or as the vehicle approaches a junction, the system would automatically make the left or right-hand side pillars transparent.
Commenting on the technology, Dr Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Our ultimate aim is to reduce road accidents and enhance the urban driving experience. The Jaguar Land Rover research team is developing this technology to improve visibility and to give the driver the right information at the right time.
“If we can keep the driver’s eyes on the road ahead and present information in a non-distracting way, we can help drivers make better decisions in the most demanding and congested driving environments.”
:: The 2015 Skoda Superb is unlikely to spawn a hot vRS version, Skoda’s CEO has admitted, but a sporty-looking trim grade and powerful diesel engines are all-but certain.
Professor Doctor Winfried Vahland spoke at the first unveiling of the brand-new Superb. “We are thinking of making a ‘Sport’ model,” he said. “I am not saying a Sport line (vRS), but let’s say at least a sporty look.”
Skoda’s RS performance models have to be renamed vRS for the UK to skirt trademark infringement law. Ford owns the rights to the RS initials on these shores.
But the straight-talking CEO has bad news for enthusiasts hoping for a Superb vRS. Four-wheel drive is far more likely to make it to production than performance upgrades.
“When we discuss the RS, people do not automatically want more horsepower,” he added. “They like the price and they like the value, but we have more wishes for 4x4 on the RS than for higher power.”
There is a distinct possibility that any such model could use the same engine as the Octavia RS diesel, linked to four-wheel drive.
Prof. Dr. Vahland explained: “That would make a sporty package, but I would not call it RS. For the RS it would be better to have the biggest BiTurbo diesel engine - then I would judge that we can call it RS.”
:: More than seven out of 10 people will spend Christmas away from their own homes, it has been claimed.
Research from Friday-Ad Motors says that 45 million people will travel to friends or family’s houses for at least some of their festivities this year.
The average distance set to be travelled is 66 miles, with a fuel spend of £9.52 - although recent good news regarding the price of petrol has helped lower that.
A lucky 6% of the 2,000 people involved in the survey will spend Christmas abroad this year, with France, Spain and the USA the three most popular destinations.
Of those UK-dwellers staying here over the season, less than 30% are resolutely staying at home.
A little over 17% will be travelling less than 20 miles, while 11.2% look between 20 and 50 miles, almost 16% expect to drive 50-100 miles and close to 15% say they’ll cover 100-200 miles.
Intrepid festive explorers are relatively common, with 7.7% drawing up travel plans for 200-400-mile trips, while a dedicated 1.4% are looking beyond 400 miles.
Elsewhere in the survey, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas is likely to be the most listened-to song en route to Christmas parties. It pipped Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty McColl into second place, which in turn was followed by Chris Rea and Driving Home for Christmas.
Apparently, one confused survey participant stated that their favourite Christmas song was “Chingle Bens,” while 2% admitted to hating Christmas songs of any sort.