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Japan invents ‘James Bond’ see-through car tech
James Bond is helping inspire the next generation of car reversing aids: thanks to research currently taking place in Japan, drivers will soon have the opportunity to see straight through the back of their car. Well, almost.
A researcher from Keio University in Tokyo is working on technology that will project the view from the back of the car on to the rear seats – effectively making the rear of the car ‘see through’ and potentially leading to an end of car park incidents and reversing mishaps.
Fans of James Bond films will remember the Aston Martin ‘Vanish’ first presented to 007 by Q in Die Another Day. Bond subsequently went on to save the world on the frozen lakes of Iceland, helped in no small part by his vanishing Vanquish. The evil villain Zao may have extensively modified his Jaguar XK-R, but he forgot to tick the ‘make my Jag disappear’ box on the options list.
The technology being developed in Tokyo is far less exciting, but then not many of us are sent out to Iceland to do battle with megalomaniacs. That said, the researchers are using a Toyota Prius – something else that sets out to save the world.
A pair of cameras are mounted on the boot lid, with the images sent to the car’s on-board computer and projected on to the rear seats via a camera mounted on the drivers’ head rest. The end result is an illusion that the entire rear of the car has disappeared.
We have to wonder how the system will work if you happen to be carrying rear seat passengers, but we are rather excited about the prospect of an entirely transparent car. It will certainly make the job of traffic wardens far more difficult and it could prove to be quite effective when driving past speed cameras.
Front and rear parking sensors on a Ford Fiesta would currently set you back £275 and we imagine it will be some time before transparent rear ends will be this affordable.
Having said that, reports this weekend suggest that Masahiko Inami and his team are already talking to a Japanese manufacturer about putting the technology into production. They are also working on ‘transparent’ doors that would help lorry drivers see smaller vehicles alongside them at junctions.
Technology such as this should always be applauded as it seeks to cut down on accidents and make the streets a little safer. Unlike current dashboard-projected parking cameras, the system actually forces the driver to look behind them, which has got to be a good thing. As far as we’re concerned, driver aids should merely assist rather than take away the responsibility of the driver.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to see if the mobile phone-controlled BMW 7-Series as seen in Tomorrow Never Dies is any closer to production.
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