Discovery: A New Beginning
In the 25 years since its launch, the Land Rover Discovery has carved an enviable reputation for itself – from deserts, jungles and barren peaks, where its unrivalled capability sees it through the harshest terrain, to cities and country tracks worldwide, where its distinctive blend of spacious design and innovative versatility have made it a global success, winning numerous awards and clocking up impressive sales figures.
The Discovery shaped the 4×4 leisure segment and, over the course of a generation, became synonymous with it. Always a trend-setting pioneer, the Discovery is now on a journey of transformation and is set to change the face of the next generation too.
From 2015 onwards, the Discovery nameplate will be borne by not just a single model but a distinct range of vehicles that symbolize the essence of the premium, lifestyle-orientated SUV: modern, versatile, practical and desirable, with the unmistakable DNA of Land Rover at its core.
As Range Rover has done in the luxury SUV sector, the Discovery nameplate will come to redefine its territory in the leisure category. With the best designed and most premium, practical, versatile vehicles in their class, the future Discovery range is set to fundamentally enhance the way drivers around the world take on the adventure of modern life.
Discovery Vision Concept: Designing the Future
The Discovery Concept is a vision into the future of Land Rover’s new family of leisure vehicles. It is a vision of a premium and thoroughly modern lifestyle vehicle – a highly desirable interpretation of our well established Discovery nameplate, with a strong focus on relevant versatility and compelling design. This will truly resonate with customers while respecting the established values of Discovery’s unique heritage.
With its optimised volume and proportions, dramatic silhouette and overall modernity inside and out, this concept is a radical departure from Discovery as we know it – and yet, its unique DNA is evident, with the stepped roof, alpine lights, command driving position and stadium seating all working in harmony to create a vehicle that acknowledges its roots, whilst firmly looking forward.
Though a full-size SUV, the Discovery Vision Concept looks remarkably compact. This has been achieved through a combination of well-considered design elements such as wrap-around headlamps and tail lamps and the short front and rear overhangs serving to reduce the visual length. The headlamps utilise advanced laser technology to generate incredibly bright, far-reaching beams of light, paired with LED daytime running lights. Slim foglamps on either side of the prominent undershield are capable of emitting both infrared and coloured lasers, which assist in the Laser Terrain Scanning and Laser Referencing functions.
In profile, the Discovery Vision Concept’s raised beltline alludes to the incredible levels of space available inside. The doors are operated by gesture control, and, with no need for handles, the resulting clean, beautifully crafted surfaces and the flush, tight gaps between their interfaces further impart a sense of modernity.
The slim, aerodynamic wing mirrors have embedded cameras, which augment the view of the driver through the windows, providing an extended field of vision while parking and reversing. Just below the doors, sill steps on either side automatically deploy to facilitate occupants’ entry and exit, with LED lighting to illuminate the ground being stepped onto.
The body coloured C-pillar, the stepped roof flowing into the alpine lights and the distinctive asymmetrical graphic element on the rear number plate also references its Discovery heritage.
The Discovery Concept takes a thoroughly modern view but also acknowledges the need to evolve specific Discovery elements such as the split tailgate which has evolved on the Discovery concept to a highly flexible new tailgate design incorporating a social seat system in the vehicle’s loadspace area.
The gesture-controlled, electrically powered, single-piece tailgate is paired with an event platform, which electrically deploys from within the rear bumper, just above the rear undershield. The Vision Concept has sleek horizontal tail lamps and vertical foglamps, and as at the front, the rear window also features hidden wipers, neatly concealed under the rear spoiler.
The concept car, which is painted in a Tribeca Grey finish, is fitted with bespoke 23-inch split-five-spoke Aero Viper alloy wheels with a bright silver turned finish.
Interior: Innovation and Versatility Combined
The interior of the Discovery Vision Concept is a dynamic blend of form, colour and material, striking in its clean, modern visual simplicity. It has been carefully crafted to deliver enormous levels of spaciousness and an open, airy feel for all occupants, while still cocooning them in an environment that feels cosy and secure.
With a brief to create the ultimate leisure space, Land Rover’s design team has created a warm and welcoming interior, crafted in Nimbus and Navy premium leather, open pore grey wood veneer and polished and brushed aluminium finishes. The large glasshouse and panoramic roof let in plenty of light and afford clear views out, while the vehicle’s high beltline creates a feeling of security.
The Discovery Vision Concept seats seven full-size adults in great comfort, in a 2+3+2 layout across three rows. Every passenger is catered for equally, with plenty of headroom and legroom and access to storage, infotainment and accessories.
The Discovery Vision Concept maintains the command driving position, within an airy cockpit that gives excellent visibility. Flowing lines and warmly textured materials tastefully complement clean, futuristic technology interfaces. The steering wheel incorporates two small OLED touchscreens to operate the infotainment system, and with turn signals and headlamp functions operated by gesture control, indicator stalks are absent, creating more visual space and less clutter around the driver. This also affords a clear view of the instrument cluster, which features a high-definition screen with a 3-million-pixel resolution for incredibly vivid, sharp imagery.
The top of the fascia has a leather-wrapped aerofoil-shaped structure for a light, minimalist appearance. The swooping form of the fascia’s central ‘arm’ encases two high-resolution touchscreens, which display the vehicle’s system menus. The lower touchscreen flips up to reveal a storage binnacle with an induction pad for easy, cable-free recharging of smartphones. Further down along the console is a rotary gearshift control, which deploys and rises into the driver’s hand as it approaches, and a secondary rotary which controls functions such as Terrain Response and Tow Assist. This secondary rotary can detached and taken out of the vehicle to operate Remote Control Drive.
The seats have a sculpted, wrap-around effect, with bolstered leather wrapped around the frame for a minimalist yet solid structural appearance. The third-row seats get their own colour: Navy leather, in contrast to the other five seats, which are made from Nimbus leather. This visual separation helps create a personalised ambience for the third-row passengers. All seven seats feature Sky Blue contrast stitching.
Built to take the demands of family life, the Discovery Vision Concept’s cabin is finished in Foglizzo H20w, an innovative premium leather that is specially treated to make it completely washable, while the Nubuck inserts on the first- and second-row seats feature Foglizzo H203 treatment that makes them totally oil- and water-repellent, to protect against spills. Soft and beautiful, yet highly durable, the Foglizzo leather is very easily washed and cleaned, making it the perfect solution for an uncompromisingly active lifestyle.
A SkyLight cabin light is incorporated into the structural cross-beam that spans the panoramic roof. Providing an even, warm spread of light, it can be activated and brightened or dimmed with a gesture. Gentle orange lighting in the doors and floors further enhances the ambience of the interior.
Versatility and practicality have always been fundamental aspects of the Discovery, and every facet of the Discovery Vision Concept’s carefully considered design reflects a sense of thoughtful innovation.
The Discovery Vision Concept’s reconfigurable seating system perfectly represents this philosophy. The seats in the second and third rows are able to slide backwards and forwards fully, both independently and as a complete row, fitting flush with the seat ahead or behind them (‘theatre-fold’). The seat can also fold down flat, with the seatback effectively becoming a table surface (‘table-fold’). Thus, with varying combinations of theatre-fold and table-fold seats, it is possible to create differing configurations for convenience and comfort – all easily selected from the menu on the console touchscreen. Possible configurations include:
- 7-seat mode: Standard seating for seven adults in three rows.
- 6-seat-mode: Second row middle seat in table-fold; more convenience for the second-row outboard-seat passengers.
- 5-seat mode: Both second-row outboard seats in table-fold (more convenience for the middle-seat passenger) or both third-row seats in theatre-fold with the second row (plenty of extra load space).
- 4-seat, or ‘limousine’ mode: Second row outboard seats in full theatre-fold with the front seats, and the second row middle seat in table-fold. Two passengers seated in the third row seats enjoy huge amounts of legroom.
In addition, the back of each seat not only contains a gesture-controlled infotainment screen with a wide variety of functions, but also packs numerous convenience features such as integrated pop-out coat hangers, fold-out tray tables and tablet docking ports.
With a nod to the original Discovery and its Conran Design-inspired cubby-bag which clipped into the centre console, the Discovery Vision Concept features detachable travel luggage smartly integrated into the doors, so that passengers can save having to pack and carry a suitcase and load it into the boot. The high-quality hard cases clip straight into the insides of the doors, and once detached, can be taken away from the vehicle like a regular stroller bag, as they have wheels in their bases and extendable handles. Accessories such as picnic blankets, sleeping blankets and cushions, are designed to enhance leisure activities. They are handcrafted by Sula and made with material woven by Harris Tweed, exuding British quality and workmanship.
The Discovery Vision Concept’s social seating platform is another elegant manifestation of the Land Rover designers’ mission to maximise versatility. The social seat is deployed from under the boot floor. When initially extended, it forms a platform for activity. When further folded out, it becomes a bench that can be used by all to sit on.
Used in conjunction with the powered single-piece tailgate, which opens up fully to serve as a canopy, and the deployable event platform, which can serve as a viewing platform to stand on, the social seating system supports a variety of outdoor leisure activities, from picnics and watching the polo to changing kids’ muddy rugby kit. With conversion attachments, the sill step can also be used as a mounted bike/ski rack when the vehicle is on the move.
The Discovery Vision Concept is packed full of pioneering technology that is being developed by Jaguar Land Rover: technology of incredible intelligence and capability, that makes the driver and passenger experience alike safer, smarter, more connected and more engaging than ever.
The Discovery Vision Concept’s headlamps feature laser diodes in combination with LED running lights. Laser light is the next generation of automotive lighting technology. These lights utilise laser-activated phosphor projection to emit a very bright and even beam of pure white light. The power of the laser light beam adds a distance of over 300 metres to the range of the headlight, and the quality of the light itself is closer to daylight – smooth and clean, with no patchiness or speckling – than any other type of artificial light, all of which makes for excellent and greatly enhanced visibility on the road.
Further, Jaguar Land Rover’s intelligent dipping and tracking technology uses hi-definition cameras to automatically detect and assess oncoming traffic, instantly dipping the relevant parts of the light beam to avoid glare to other road users, and adjusting the rest of the beam to maintain perfect visibility in all driving situations.
By immensely boosting driver confidence and decreasing fatigue, reducing glare and avoiding the need to take one’s hands off the wheel to operate the dip function, laser headlamps aim to make a huge difference to the automotive landscape by vastly increasing road safety. Additionally, laser lights have the added advantage of also being very compact – a tenth the size of LEDs – which opens up numerous design and engineering possibilities.
Smart Glass & Passenger HMI
The Discovery Vision Concept also previews a truly futuristic technology that will radically transform the user experience for drivers and passengers alike: smart glass. This state-of-the-art glass is capable of displaying imagery, like a computer screen – but is otherwise entirely transparent, like regular glass. Smart glass is used in the entire glasshouse of the Discovery Vision Concept – in all the windows, the panoramic roof and, allied to Head-Up Display (HUD) technology, in the windscreen – and opens up a world of exciting possibilities.
Augmented reality involves overlaying real-time information onto the view of the surroundings as seen through the windows by the driver or passengers. The smart glass in the window can work in conjunction with eye-tracking sensors and the vehicle’s sat-nav system to identify that, for instance, a passing landmark is being observed by one of the vehicle’s passengers – and displays relevant information, such as navigation or tourist data, to that passenger. That information can then be swiped from the window directly into a passenger’s seatback infotainment screen, or – adding in the functionality of passengers’ personal devices – even to a docked tablet or smartphone,
The image projection properties of smart glass also enhance the view through the windows; for instance, bay parking, reversing around corners or parking a trailer is made easier by projecting camera feeds onto the driver’s view out of the smart-glass window, broadening the field of vision.
The graphical properties of smart glass enhance ambience and privacy controls; the window can be dimmed with infinite gradation or completely blacked out with the swipe of a finger, while the panoramic roof also has the option of displaying screensaver-style ‘mood screens’. From a soothing starry night sky as you drive through a city to a clear blue summer sky on a winter’s evening – the smart glass on the panoramic roof lets you set the mood.
The Discovery Vision Concept emphasises a great infotainment experience for all passengers. Individual 10-inch high-resolution screens are fitted into four of the seat backs, with the console screens serving the first-row right-hand-side and second-row middle passengers. Each passenger has not only full video and internet access via the vehicle’s secure in-car WiFi network and the ability to link up to the smart-glass data from the windows, but can also, thanks to embedded cameras above each screen, video-call any other passenger seated in the Discovery Vision Concept, and talk in a natural face-to-face manner without having to twist rearward. The tablet dock integrated into the seatback folding trays also allows personal smartphones and tablets to be hooked up to the vehicle’s system. The screens can be operated with hand gestures – for instance, swiping a hand left or right to change the mode, or rotating a finger to increase or decrease the volume.
A number of other functions in the Discovery Vision Concept are also controlled by intuitive gestures, which is the next generation of HMI technology. Jaguar Land Rover’s researchers have developed carefully calibrated motion sensors that precisely recognise designated hand or finger movements, thus eliminating the chance of unintentional triggering of functions. In addition to the passenger infotainment systems, gestures open and close the vehicle’s doors and tailgate, operate the lights and turn signals, activate the rotary gearshift control, and dim and brighten the cabin lighting.
Unsurpassed All-Terrain Capability
The Discovery, beloved of rutted roads and green lanes across the world, has a proud history of successfully tackling gruelling overland expeditions – most recently, the Journey of Discovery in 2012, where the one-millionth Discovery to be built was driven 8,000 miles from Birmingham to Beijing, China.
The Discovery Vision Concept carries forward this tradition: from its design and build to the capability of its technical systems, it is not just every inch a Land Rover, but has the most advanced capability of any Land Rover, ever. The Discovery Vision Concept shows the direction of cutting-edge all-terrain technologies developed by Land Rover, which, from motorways to mountaintops, deliver the best functionality whatever the terrain.
Remote Control Drive
This feature enables the driver to manoeuvre the car at very low speed while not actually seated inside it, via the removable secondary rotary on the centre console, as well as via a smartphone or tablet. Applications include:
- extreme off-roading, where it is sometimes safer and easier to inch the vehicle over obstacles from an outside vantage point,
- coupling to a trailer, or
- driving through gates, where the driver can avoid repeatedly getting in and out of the vehicle by simply opening the gate and letting the vehicle drive through via Remote Control Drive, before shutting the gate and re-entering the vehicle.
Remote Control Drive has a simple, easy-to-use interface, encrypted access and operation only via the vehicle’s localised WiFi, putting the power of autonomous vehicle control safely and securely in the driver’s hands.
Laser Terrain Scanning
Another enhancement to the driver’s capability is Laser Terrain Scanning. The Discovery Vision Concept’s foglamps are capable of emitting infrared lasers, and these are used to scan the ground ahead, map the terrain and display the mapped imagery on the hi-definition cluster screen, providing the driver a vital visual reference and helping him understand the lay of the land while driving in challenging off-road conditions.
Both on and off the road, the Discovery Vision Concept’s laser technology capability offers an additional resource: Laser Referencing. Here, the laser light is tuned to specific colours in the visible spectrum and used to project visible images onto the road. This has numerous useful applications, including projecting warning triangles onto the tarmac behind the car for other motorists to see in the event of a stoppage, or projecting reference points onto roads, walls or any terrain, in order to help the driver to judge tight gaps and to park or drive in congested spaces.
Another way of providing the driver with enhanced visibility and a greater understanding of the terrain is Land Rover’s innovative Transparent Bonnet system. Cameras under the vehicle’s grille send video of the terrain being traversed, projecting it to the Head-Up Display in the windscreen. By overlaying the imagery through the driver’s line of sight on the HUD covering the bonnet area, the system effectively creates a ‘see-through’ bonnet view of the terrain and the direction of the front wheels, thus improving visibility and enhancing driver confidence.
The next generation of Land Rover’s iconic multi-mode terrain-tackling system links up and networks all these advanced capability technologies, as well as Hill Descent Control, wet grass traction control, auto hi/lo, Low Speed Steering Assist and Wade Aid.
Terrain Response not only analyses the type of terrain being traversed – snow, ice, mud, grass, water, rocks, ruts, tarmac, gravel, sand, inclines and so on – but also proactively anticipates upcoming terrain via Laser Terrain Scanning and forward-facing camera sensors, and instantly engages the appropriate system to best respond to that type of terrain and situation.
Wade Aid is a new sensory wading system that uses lasers to judge the depth of water ahead before the vehicle even begins to wade, and informs the driver of the feasibility of the intended wading manoeuvre.
The Discovery Vision Concept’s all-terrain capability enables differing levels of driving enhancement:
- All Terrain Progress Control: A low-speed all-terrain cruise control that vectors torque to enable semi-autonomous off-road driving at a steady speed.
- All Terrain Coach: for the more manually inclined. Here, the driver chooses from a menu the type of terrain being traversed and then gets a recommendation as to which off-road system ought to be activated for the best response.
- Enhanced All Terrain Coach: marks a specific route across a terrain map rendered on the console display via Terrain Scanning, and suggests the appropriate systems to help navigate it step-by-step.
The systems on the Discovery Vision Concept offer multiple levels of autonomy, so that the driver always has the choice to be engaged and involved with the terrain just as much as desired or needed.
By enabling better vision and decision-making, they aim to provide the driver with more of the right information at the right time, helping progress through seemingly impassable terrain, and leading to more confidence, security and enjoyment on any terrain.