Jaguar Land Rover has today announced a new research project to develop the systems required to offer drivers an uninterrupted 360 degree view and a more intuitive navigation experience.

Dubbed the 360° Virtual Urban Windscreen, the system uses screens on the inner surface of each pillar to display video images from a series of exterior cameras.

The aim of the system is to remove the blind-spots usually created by the A, B and C-pillars, and give drivers a better view of pedestrians, cyclists and other obstacles.

However, the system goes further, and links the pillar screens with a projection on to the windscreen to highlight the movement of other road users with a glowing halo.

The system is designed to be unobtrusive, and would activate when a driver indicates, approaches a junction, or turns their head in a particular direction.

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology at 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.”

Jaguar Land Rover hopes to integrate the virtual windscreen with other data taken from internet services, projecting information on to the windscreen such as the names of local businesses and landmarks, as well as prices at a passing petrol station or even the number of available spaces in a car park.

It is hoped the system could even use this information to generate more intuitive navigation instructions, such as ‘turn left at the petrol station’ rather than relying on road names.

As part of this project, JLR is developing a ‘follow-me’ ghost car navigation system which projects the image of another car onto the windscreen for the driver to follow, helping to negotiate tricky junctions and ensure the driver is always in the right lane.

“Driving on city streets can be a stressful experience, but imagine being able to drive across town without having to look at road signs, or be distracted trying to locate a parking space as you drive by,” added Dr Epple. “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 ahead.”