Jaguar Land Rover is constantly pushing the boundaries when it comes to the development of new technology for their vehicles. Not long ago they announced that they were integrating augmented reality into their satellite navigation systems, projecting directions and instructions on to the window screen so the driver’s eyes remain fixed on the road ahead.
Today, though, they’re taking it up to a whole new level. Jaguar Land Rover has officially become the first vehicle manufacturer to experiment with structural electronics for the cabins of their cars. ‘What on earth does that mean?’ we hear you ask...
It’s about to get very nerdy here but bear with me. The researchers are using LESA technology, which stands for Lightweight Electronics in Simplified Architecture. This technology already exists in things like curved OLED televisions and some wearable tech - but it has never been applied to a car. The technology has the potential to completely revolutionise the design of car cabins.
Jaguar Land Rover believes they will be able to harness this technology to enable body panels inside the car to display information only when needed, so they will be able to remove all unnecessary buttons. Designers will be able to create customisable mood lighting, wraparound dashboards, heated surfaces and much more.
Weight saving will be another huge advantage of using LESA technology. All the weight and space consumed by wiring, computers and other hardware can be reduced significantly. Jaguar Land Rover said there can be a 60% weight saving when switching from wiring to LESA - as the sensors and electronics will all be self-contained within the vehicles bodywork.
Still not quite got your head around it? Picture this: LESA technology will be able to make a screen out of a wooden body panel.
Jaguar Land Rover also believe that LESA technology will allow vehicle makers to add solar panels to the roofs of their vehicles without adding contributing to the overall weight of the car, allowing a vehicle’s battery to recharge itself while parked.
It all looks extremely promising. Jaguar Land Rover Electrical Research Technical Manager, Ashutosh Tomar, said: “Healthcare, aerospace, consumer technology and military industries are already harnessing the benefits of structural electronics and our research is leading the way in the automotive sector by bringing it into the cabin for the first time.
“We believe LESA represents the future of vehicle electronics and will enable us to design and manufacture innovative, flexible and customisable cabins for our customers while also reducing weight and cost during production helping us reach Destination Zero.”
‘Destination Zero’ is Jaguar Land Rovers ambition to have zero-emission vehicles recording zero fatalities on our roads thanks to engineering, education and innovation.
There’s currently no timescale on when (or even if) we’ll see this technology applied to JLR vehicles but once again, it’s incredible to see how forward-thinking the research and development projects are. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.